Two men shot dead in dispute at taxi rank

2009-09-15 00:00

APPARENT greed for passengers has left two people dead and one behind bars.

On Sunday, a metered taxi driver shot and killed two taxi operators in the Masukwane taxi rank in Church Street during a dispute over the rights to pick up passengers in that area.

The dead men have been identified as John Dladla (58) and George Mncwabe (63). They were apparently known taxi owners.

According to the police, an argument broke out between the three men after a metered taxi pulled into the area to transport a woman passenger. The two taxi owners apparently confronted the metered taxi driver about “stealing” their passengers.

They allegedly pulled the woman out of the vehicle and went to their vehicles to fetch a steel pipe and a cane knife. They allegedly attacked the 36-year-old metered taxi driver who drew out his firearm and shot the two taxi owners dead.

Police spokeswoman Joey Jeevan said the metered taxi driver fled the scene and handed himself over to the Richmond police service.

She said the suspect is in custody and will appear in court shortly.

Boy Zondi, the chairman of Msunduzi Regional Taxi Council and the PRO of the KwaZulu-Natal Taxi Council expressed shock at the incident. He denied the allegation that the two dead men were taxi operators, saying council knows Mncwabe only as a member.

“We knew Mr Mncwabe to be profoundly decent and a soft-spoken man and it has therefore shocked us that he was killed in such a manner.”

Zondi said it is important to emphasise that this is not a taxi war and that there is no problem between the two taxi industries.

On the rights of meter taxi drivers to pick up passengers at a taxi rank, Zondi said it depended on whether the taxi was operating legally or not.

The passenger who was involved in the dispute was not available for comment at the time of going to press. Her phone rang unanswered.

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