Zuma's nephew behind illegal KZN taxi route invasions, court hears

2015-09-30 21:15
The body of a victim of the shooting at the Brook Street taxi rank in Durban is covered with a foil sheet. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

The body of a victim of the shooting at the Brook Street taxi rank in Durban is covered with a foil sheet. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban – President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, taxi boss Mfundo Gcaba, was on Wednesday described as the main driving force behind the illegal invasion of taxi routes that allegedly prompted the shooting at the Brook Street taxi rank in Durban.

Details of how Gcaba allegedly ignored court interdicts and defied the law were laid bare during a bail application heard on Wednesday.

Reading investigating officer Major Mandla Dlamini’s affidavit at the Durban Magistrate’s Court, state prosecutor Khumbu Shazi described in detail the bitter longstanding dispute between Zamokuhle Long Distance Taxi Association and Sonke Long Distance Taxi Association.

William Kunene, Hezekiah Masiteng, Xolani Mhlongo, Vusi Ngubane, Sibongiseni Khanyile, Lucas Mhlenti, Brett Rayner, Thulani Dyanti, Mandla Nkosi, Mhlabunzima Gasa and Gcaba were arrested after a shooting at the Brook Street taxi rank which left three people dead, including an innocent commuter.

They appeared before Magistrate Phumlani Bhengu and have been charged with murder, attempted murder and public violence.

The case against accused number 12, Thokozani Sikhakhane, was struck off the roll. 

Earlier on Wednesday, defence attorney Jimmy Howse said his clients acted in self-defence and that they denied being members of either association.

Explaining the background to the feud, Dlamini said Zamokuhle was granted a licence to operate return trips between the Durban and Port Shepstone route, operating at the Brook Street taxi rank.

In June, Sonke requested a meeting with Zamokuhle and proposed that the Durban to Port Shepstone routes be shared between the two associations.

"Zamokuhle turned down the proposal to share the routes, however Sonke later forcefully started operating on the Durban to Port Shepstone route," read the affidavit.

"On June 22, the Department of Transport and the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) convened a meeting between Sonke and Zamokuhle to try and find solutions."

In the affidavit, Dlamini said the department and the ETA indicated that Sonke's invasion of the route was illegal.

This in turn led to a meeting between Gcaba and the Department of Transport.

"This was after applicant number 11 [Gcaba] was identified as the main person driving the illegal operations of Sonke into [the routes of other taxi associations].

"Applicant number 11 [Gcaba] stated that the government's intervention was what was going to get people killed. He stated that all associations that were not from eThekwini were not allowed to operate on their own."

Sonke was informed that its operations were illegal.

"He [Gcaba] was openly defiant and persisted in the illegal operations into other routes."

Zamokuhle obtained an order from the Durban High Court on July 9, interdicting Sonke from operating from Brook Street.

"On the morning of September 16 at around 5:00, members of the Zamokuhle and their guards were working at the Brook Street taxi rank and a group of Sonke members, including the applicants and their bodyguards, came and took over the loading stands with their taxis.

"These taxis included the taxis with the names and style, Gcaba Brothers. These are taxis known to belong to applicant number 11 [Gcaba] and or his family.

"When they were asked to move from the rank, an argument ensued between the security guards employed by both associations and then the members of Sonke fired at the Zamokuhle security guards."

Dlamini believed that the applicants were aligned to Sonke.

"Applicant number 11 [Gcaba] had allegedly given instructions... that the security guards at the taxi rank should shoot if they try to remove the Sonke taxis from the rank.

"Other associates had been instructed to wait at strategic points... in order to collect the applicants from the scene.

"Witnesses have said they saw applicant number 11 [Gcaba] firing shots… and shots were fired even when the police arrived at the scene."

Dlamini believed that the applicants had no reason to be at the rank that day.

Bhengu remanded the matter to Thursday.

Read more on:    durban  |  taxi violence  |  crime

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