Hammarsdale taxi driver shot in front of his sister

2011-03-04 00:00

A TAXI driver believed to be operating in Mpumalanga Township in Hammarsdale was gunned down in front of his sister and niece in Cato Ridge on Wednesday evening.

Police said Vusumuzi Goodman Mata (40) was attacked by two unknown men in Selby Road, Cato Ridge, about 20 km outside Pietermaritzburg.

Mata’s sister, Thamikazi (34), said she was accompanying her niece, Nokwanda Mata (17), to buy airtime near where she stays when she saw her brother’s taxi.

“I hadn’t seen him for three days so when I saw him I flagged him down to chat. My niece was sitting behind him while I stood on the passenger side.

“Visibility was poor because we have no street lights.

“As we were chatting I saw the two men approaching and thought I knew them, but as they got closer I realised that I didn’t know them and suddenly gunshots rang out,” said Thamikazi.

She crawled into the thick grass nearby fearing that she would be shot too.

“In a short space of time it became quiet and I came out and found my niece crying that my brother was not moving.

“I looked at him and called for help and when the police arrived he was declared dead,” she said.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said Mata was shot several times in his neck and back.

She said the suspects fled on foot from the scene and moments later an motor vehicle picked them up and sped off.

The motive for the shooting is unknown and no arrests have been made.

Mpumalanga Township area has recently seen several taxi operators being assassinated in taxi-related violence. Last year MEC for Public Safety, Transport and Liaison Willies Mchunu was called to the area to broker a truce and settle a bloody taxi feud among taxi operators in the area that claimed the lives of 12 people between 2005 and 2008.

Police are appealing to anyone with information that will assist in their investigation to call the branch commander, captain Linda Gcwabaza of the Camperdown police at 031 785 9025 or 082 459 7064. Anonymous callers can phone 086 001 0111 toll-free.

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