Bus driver’s murder shock

2016-08-24 06:00
PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT Mandisa Zondo and Nosipho Mlaba in front of the gaping hole left in their lounge where a bus crashed through the wall on Monday night. Armed men shot the driver, causing the bus, which was filled with passengers, to veer into the house. The pair narrowly escaped unscathed.

PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT Mandisa Zondo and Nosipho Mlaba in front of the gaping hole left in their lounge where a bus crashed through the wall on Monday night. Armed men shot the driver, causing the bus, which was filled with passengers, to veer into the house. The pair narrowly escaped unscathed.

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FOUR housemates are lucky to be alive after a bus, whose driver had been shot in what is thought to have been a botched robbery attempt, crashed into the lounge where they had been watching television just seconds earlier.

The driver, identified as 41-year-old Lindani Gwala, was found dead in his seat, with a bullet wound to the head, after his bus veered off the road and crashed into a house at the Beacon Hill Estate just outside Pietermaritzburg.

Gwala’s managers believe he was still conscious after he was shot, and steered to avoid ramming into an abandoned house on the edge of the estate, as well as an electricity pylon, keeping the bus on its wheels and slowing it down before it plunged down a bank and crashed into the house.

Gwala’s two attackers fled into nearby bushes when the bus came to a halt. Only one passenger was hospitalised with minor injuries.

According to Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joshua Maistry, Gwala, who was employed by the TBT bus company, was transporting about 60 passengers from the CBD to the Table Mountain area when the incident happened on Monday evening.

Just after 6pm, while driving along Chief Mhlabunzima Road near Eastwood, Gwala stopped to pick up two men on the corner of Birmingham Road.

Maistry said Gwala was about to turn onto the road leading to Table Mountain when the two men leapt up from their seats, one holding a firearm and the other a knife.

The gunman threatened the passengers, telling them to get down on the floor.

Gwala was instructed to take the turn to Table Mountain and, as he did, the gunman placed his weapon under Gwala’s chin and fired through his head.

It was then the bus veered right and crashed through the electric fence of Beacon Hill Estate.

The bus narrowly missed an empty house as it crashed down an embankment, clipping a light pole a few metres away from a massive electricity pylon, before swerving right and smashing into the lounge of a nearby house.

The residents, who were watching TV at the time, saw the bus hurtling towards them through the window and dashed out of the back door, narrowly escaping being hit by the vehicle. The two attackers fled when the bus came to a halt, and were seen scurrying into bushes nearby.

Maistry said the hunt for the men is under way.

A clear motive has yet to be established.

Gwala’s younger brother, Sgcino Madonda, said the family is traumatised after hearing news of his death.

Madonda appealed to anyone with information on the whereabouts of his brother’s killers to come forward and assist the police.

“We are very shocked. He was the breadwinner of the family.

“He was a very good man and was full of jokes.

“He was friendly and he will be missed,” he said.

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