Durban taxi shooting accused will have to wait on bail decision

2015-10-01 21:24
Guns recovered after a shoot-out at the Brook Street taxi rank in Durban. (Supplied to News24)

Guns recovered after a shoot-out at the Brook Street taxi rank in Durban. (Supplied to News24)

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Durban – The 11 men who stand who stand accused of executing a deadly shooting at Durban's Brook Street taxi rank will possibly only know their fate next week. 

This after their bail application hearing was remanded until October 9 for state prosecutor Khumbu Shazi and defense attorney Jimmy Howse to argue why they should, or shouldn’t be granted bail.

President Jacob Zuma’s nephew and taxi boss Mandla Gcaba - along with William Kunene, Hezekiah Masiteng, Xolani Mhlongo, Vusi Ngubane, Sibongiseni Khanyile, Lucas Mhlenti, Brett Rayner, Thulani Dyanti, Mandla Nkosi and Mhlabunzima Gasa - were arrested after a shooting at the Brook Street taxi rank which left three people dead, including an innocent commuter on September 16.

The 11 men appeared at the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, where they claimed to have acted in self-defence and denied being members of either the Sonke and Zamokuhle taxi associations.

The shooting is believed to have been prompted by a long-standing dispute between Sonke and Zamokhule Long Distance Taxi Association over a specific route.

Contradictory claims

Thursday’s proceedings took place under a heavy police presence, with members of the National Intervention Unit and the Tactical Response Team both deployed to Court 10.

Investigating officer Major Mandla Dlamini took the stand for cross-examination.

Dlamini told the court: "According to documents that I obtained from the eThekwini Transport Authority, they [the applicants] are not registered as members of the Berea Taxi Association. But according to the secretary of the Berea association, they are."

This contradicted Gcaba's claim in his affidavit that he was a member of several taxi associations, including the Berea Long Distance Taxi Association.

Dlamini said Zamokuhle obtained a licence to operate between Port Shepstone and Durban in 2005.

When asked if he was in possession of the applicants' cellphones, Dlamini revealed that he was only in possession of two cellphones. Neither belonged to the 11 applicants.

Speaking about the day in question, Dlamini said seven of the applicants were found with firearms.

"The other firearms recovered belonged to accused number 12 and to a Hlokohloko security company."

Dlamini said 25 firearms were recovered at the scene.

'They all fired shots'

The applicants, in their affidavit, told the courts that while only three of them fired shots, there could be a possibility that prima residue could be found on other applicants.

On Wednesday, Dlamini disputed this, saying: "Prima residue is taken from an individual’s hand and it is not possible for it to be passed on to a person who did not pull the trigger."

Howse asked Dlamini why the other 12 men, who were Zamokuhle bodyguards, were released.

"I am just the investigating officer, I charged all of them because they all fired shots, and it was the chief prosecutor who released the other 12."

Howse said there were serious questions that needed to be answered by the Zamokuhle bodyguards.

After cross-examination, Magistrate Phumlani Bhengu asked Dlamini to give reasons why the State should oppose bail.

"It is because we are dealing with a very sensitive case and because I fear for the applicants' lives and that of those they are feuding with.

"I fear that the taxi violence will continue and for the community's lives at the ranks. Taxi violence is a problem in our province and to date there are still no solutions," said Dlamini.

Read more on:    durban  |  taxi violence  |  crime

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