Taxi association PRO killed during drive-by shooting

2016-07-27 06:00

DOLPHIN Coast Taxi Association public relations officer Mduduzi Tony was shot and succumbed to his wounds at the Alberlito Hospital on Friday evening in Nkobongo, Shakaskraal.

Umhlali SAPS spokesperson Vinny Pillay said the police received a call at around 8:50pm on Friday about a shooting in the area.

He said Tony was in his vehicle when unknown gunmen opened fire during a drive-by shooting.

However, the Umhlali SAPS Task Team and reservists found an abandoned vehicle on Saturday morning in the Tinley Manor area which matches the description given by witnesses of the shooting, Pillay said.

“The blue, black BMW 323i was found with empty cartridges inside. The vehicle was stolen in March in Mayville during a house robbery,” Pillay said.

He said no arrests have been made at this stage and the KZN SAPS Taxi Task Team is investigating the matter.

Tony’s fatal shooting follows recent taxi-related killings within iLembe District which include Dolphin Coast Taxi Association’s secretary Dan Maharaj, members of the Maphumulo Taxi Association Sibusiso Sokhela, Nkosingiphile Maphumulo and Mboneni Mnyandu as well as deputy chairperson of the KwaDukuza/Stanger Taxi Association Bongizwe Mhlongo.

Meanwhile, KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety, and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda has strongly condemned the killing.

Kaunda said suspects involved in the killing of the above-mentioned taxi operators have either been sentenced or are awaiting trial and sentencing.

He said the police assured him and members of the taxi industry that the suspects in Tony’s killing will be brought to book speedily as the police are following key leads.

In the wake of Tony’s killing, Kaunda called an urgent meeting with the provincial and regional leadership of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association, SAPS and officials from the Departments of Transport, and Community Safety and Liaison on Saturday.

Members of the taxi industry expressed their shock and condemnation of the killing of Tony, whom they described as an advocate for peace and stability within the industry.

SANTACO’s provincial chairperson Boy Zondi urged members of the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association to assist the police, but at the same time allow them to conduct their investigation without interfering.

“We have worked very hard to attain broad peace and stability in the taxi industry, we can’t fail now,” Zondi said.

Kaunda said the taxi industry within this district has been relatively stable since the arrest in 2015 of those suspected to be involved in taxi violence.

Earlier this year, Sizwe Ngubane (35) was found guilty of four counts of murder and eight attempted murder cases and was handed down 140 years imprisonment.

Ngubane was sentenced for killing taxi operators and security guards during an ambush on the R74 in January 2015. He was arrested later on the same day of the incident.

“The recent killings threaten to destabilise our industry. We are saddened by Mr. Tony’s killing, and on behalf of the government, we wish to convey our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues in the taxi industry. But we are also encouraged by the fact that the police are following leads towards a speedy arrest of the perpetrators of this crime. We will work hard to ensure that we do not regress,” Kaunda said.

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