Police act quickly to arrest three after taxi shooting

2013-10-18 00:00

WHILE three arrests were swiftly made, the shooting of a taxi owner and driver on the R102 in the Esondweni area, KwaDukuza, yesterday morning has sparked fears of unrest in the taxi industry.

The police and Transport Department have called for calm after the incident, believed to be part of the brewing tensions over the Ballito-Durban route.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said four occupants in a taxi were on their way to a panel beater yesterday when they were allegedly stopped by eight men. Two of the men were shot upon exiting the taxi. The other two victims managed to flee the scene unharmed.

The deceased are believed to be a prominent taxi operator belonging to the KwaDukuza Taxi Association and his driver.

Within hours of the shooting, the provincial taxi violence task team arrested three suspects at Prospecton. The men, aged between 27 and 50, were found in possession of two R5 rifles and one revolver.

They will be charged for two murders, three attempted murders and for being in possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. They are expected to appear in the KwaDukuza Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The shooting is allegedly connected with ongoing tensions between the KwaDukuza taxi association and the Dolphin Coast taxi association. The dispute between the two associations is alleged to be over taxi routes between Ballito and Durban.

According to the KZN Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane, earlier this year incidents of violence were reported where bystanders were hurt in a shooting at the Ballito shopping complex.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu at the time assigned a team from the Public Transport Unit to engage with the associations, in a bid to root out problems.

Mchunu has condemned the latest shooting and urged both parties to engage peacefully. “It is unfortunate that people resort to violent means to settle their differences. This incident is unacceptable, as it undermines the progress that has been made by government in addressing taxi conflict in the area.”

• sonam.bhagwandas@witness.co.za

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