The net has closed on a Mamelodi taxi boss, who has allegedly been terrorising the community by extorting and intimidating spaza shops, local businesses and taxi drivers.
News24 can confirm that the taxi boss, who cannot be named until he appears in court, was arrested on Tuesday evening after he handed himself over to police.
According to police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, a warrant of arrest for the taxi boss was obtained on Monday at the Mamelodi East police station on charges relating to extortion, intimidation and assault.
Naidoo said that the whereabouts of the taxi boss could not be established initially, but as the net closed in, the taxi boss decided to hand himself over to police.
National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole said that the suspect had a case to answer, while Police Minister Bheki Cele has said that the authority of the state would be felt by all criminals.
“The long arm of the law knows no boundaries, and will forever take its course, no matter who you are. Residents of Mamelodi have been living in fear for far too long, the authority of the state will be felt and heard in all corners of South Africa,” said Cele.
“We shall continue to stay true to our mission as the police to prevent and combat anything that may threaten the safety and security of any community and investigate all crimes and further ensure that offenders are brought to justice.”
Arrest of associates
The taxi boss is expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court soon.
Two of his closest associates were arrested by police in a sting operation on Friday and Saturday.
One of the taxi boss’ business partners, whose name is known to News24, was arrested at his home in a Silver Lakes Estate, in Pretoria East, while another was arrested in Bronkhorstspruit.
Four other men linked to the taxi boss were also arrested on possession of illegal firearms and contravention of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act in Midrand on Friday.
Coincidentally, News24 interviewed one of the men arrested on Friday morning who denied the allegations, saying that there had not been a single docket opened against the taxi boss at Mamelodi West and East police stations.
“I spoke to the head of detectives at the Mamelodi East police station. I wanted to know whether there was any pending case of docket that Mr [taxi boss] needed to answer to and the reply was no,” he said.
The suspect inferred that the allegations were fuelled by disagreements with rival taxi owners in Mamelodi, aimed to discredit the taxi boss in question.
“We feel that it [the allegations] is co-ordinated from within the industry itself.”
The suspect said that there were people moving around the township, extorting business owners and taxi drivers for money, but said that the taxi boss did not send any of his employees.
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