Girl killed in taxi attack

2017-07-19 13:45
The scene after the taxi attack.

The scene after the taxi attack. (Supplied)

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An eight-year-old child has died while her mother is in a critical condition in hospital after they were hit by a vehicle as the driver dodged gunmen on the N3 on Tuesday.

Two executive members of the Mpumalanga Taxi Association were shot at along the N3, near Cato Ridge, as they made their way to Pietermaritzburg. One victim, said to be the vice-chairperson, died at the scene while the other, a vice-secretary, was rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

According KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, the two men were returning from a taxi meeting in Hammarsdale when the incident happened.

“They stopped at a filling station and were about to join the N3 along the Cato Ridge off-ramp when the shooting started. They were accosted by a VW Golf that tried to overtake their vehicle and then the occupants opened fire injuring both of them,” said Mbhele.

She said the occupants in the Golf fired numerous shots and then made a U-turn and left.

The vice-chairperson, who was driving, tried to flee the shooters but lost control of his vehicle and crashed into pedestrians who were on the side of the road.

The pedestrians — a mother and her eight-year-old daughter, believed to be from KwaXimba — were waiting for a taxi. The girl died at the scene while the mother was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

ER24 advanced life support paramedic Andrew Rogers said the mother and her daughter were believed to have been hit by the vehicle carrying the taxi boss as he tried to flee his shooters. Rogers said the team tried to resuscitate the girl, however, her injuries were too severe and she was declared dead at the scene.

The mother was rushed to Grey’s Hospital in a critical condition.

Mbhele said the circumstances surrounding the shooting are still sketchy. “The police are investigating two counts of murder and attempted murder.”

Community Safety spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said the MEC for Community Safety and Liaison was shocked by the senseless killings.

“The MEC has engaged with police to investigate the matter and establish the possible cause of the shooting. It is very unfair that an innocent child was caught in the crossfire and lost her life.”

Taxi violence, pitting rival taxi owners against one another, has claimed several lives in the province.

The escalation of violent clashes in the taxi industry has in recent years seen innocent bystanders being caught in the crossfire.

In February taxi hitman Themba Raphael “Kiniti” Mvelase was sentenced to six life terms by the Durban high court.

Mvelase was sentenced following the Ladysmith taxi massacre where 15 people died after hitmen ran amok in Ezakheni in 2014.

Mvelase, who belongs to the Mabaso clan, and his accomplices had been on their way to retaliate when in a case of mistaken identity they shot at a silver Mercedes-Benz. They killed the owner of the Mercedes-Benz, Thembekwayo Dlamini, who was accompanied by her family. She was driving in a car similar to one owned by the hitman’s target.

Other occupants of the vehicle sustained injuries.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  taxi violence

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