Man shot in taxi row over fuel

2009-05-10 00:00

A 26-year-old man was shot in the head after an altercation with taxi drivers yesterday afternoon, but lived to tell his tale, with the bullet still lodged in his head.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said the uproar started when Sbongiseni Majola and a friend got into a fight with the driver of a taxi they were in.

The men complained about the driver going to fill up with petrol with passengers in the vehicle.

The taxi driver drove to the taxi rank for help when he saw that one of the men had a gun.

Budhram said Majola’s friend fired the gun, aiming at the driver, as the pair stood outside the taxi, but he hit Majola instead.

However, when The Witness visited Majola in hospital, he told a completely different story.

He claims the man he was with is his uncle and they were on their way to Thembelihle, an informal settlement near Eastwood.

“All my uncle asked was are they going to fill up because we were in a hurry and we had been sitting waiting for the taxi to fill up [with passengers] for a long time.”

According to Majola, his uncle was not rude.

“He [the taxi driver] started swearing at my uncle for no reason. When my uncle asked to be dropped off he said he would not do that and sharply did a turn back to the taxi rank. He kept saying ‘You don’t know who I am’.”

When his uncle jumped out of the taxi, Majola claims he was beaten by a group of taxi drivers.

When Majola went to help he was also beaten.

He said one of the men found a gun on his uncle and shot at him.

“My only sin was trying to intervene. It’s was my bad luck,” said an emotional Majola.

He said he did not feel the bullet go through.

ER24 spokesman Derrick Banks, said medics found Majola sitting on the steps at the police station.

“He was shot on the left of his head. You could see the bullet in his head, but he was conscious and talking,” said Banks.

Majola claims his phone got lost in the fight and he couldn’t even alert his family in Sinathingi. “It is the first time I encounter people like that. If I could I would never use taxis again, but what can you do.”

According to Budhram, the man with Majola was arrested after being handed over to police along with his firearm by the taxi drivers.

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