Taxi boss gunned down

2016-03-02 11:29
Taxi owner Xolani Ntuli’s Hyundai Atos which was shot at by gunmen in Glenwood.

Taxi owner Xolani Ntuli’s Hyundai Atos which was shot at by gunmen in Glenwood. (Amil Umraw, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Taxi violence is the suspected motive behind a gun-blazing assassination carried out in Glenwood, Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

While returning home from dropping his wife at work, 47-year-old Xolani Ntuli was attacked by rifle-wielding gunmen outside his house on Shetland Drive at about 7 am.

Police believe that because Ntuli owns taxis — which run routes in and around Hammarsdale — the motive for the brazen murder may be related to brewing taxi violence.

Ntuli’s blue Hyundai Atos was shot at as he was swinging the vehicle into his driveway. It is believed four men, who drove up to him in a red Toyota Corolla, approached Ntuli and opened fire on the driver’s side of the car where he was seated.

Ntuli managed to escape from the vehicle and dashed into a neighbour’s yard. With the gunmen chasing close behind, and with nowhere to hide, Ntuli scaled a barbed wire backyard fence and entered a large field behind the properties. It was there, in the long grass, that the gunmen finally caught up to Ntuli. He was shot dead about 50 metres down a steep embankment.

Ntuli’s body was found with seven gunshot wounds from high-powered AK47 rounds.

When The Witness arrived at the house yesterday, police officers were still combing the street for bullet shells as loud screams could be heard from a neighbouring house.

Ntuli’s wife, who had just been told the news of her husband’s death, rushed out of the house, screaming his name. She pushed through policemen and eventually collapsed on the roadside in front of her husband’s car.

Speaking to The Witness a few metres away from the yellow tape that encircled Ntuli’s car, a neighbour, who asked to remain unnamed in fear of victimisation, said she was in her house when she heard the gunshots.

“I did not hear one bullet followed by another. I never heard anything like this before. It was like in the movies with the machine guns they use there, only louder. It continued for a long time,” the neighbour said.

The neighbour described Ntuli and his wife as “very quiet and reserved”.

The police’s Search and Rescue officers took more than two hours to recover Ntuli’s body, having to get over the fence and haul the motionless body up the steep embankment in a stretcher.

KwaZulu-Natal taxi association chairperson Boy Zondi said he always discourages killings and violence within the taxi industry.

“We encourage taxi bosses to seek out our association and voice their concerns instead of killing each other,” Zondi said.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Gay Ebrahim said the police are on the hunt for Ntuli’s killers.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  taxi violence  |  shooting

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