Shot taxi driver tells of ordeal

2010-06-29 00:00

THE 36-year-old taxi driver who walked to get help after he was shot in the abdomen during a hijacking in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday evening recounted his ordeal from his hospital bed yesterday.

Zeph Nxumalo said that after he was shot, two attackers also robbed him of about R600, the day’s takings in his metered taxi.

Nxumalo, who lives in Copesville, said the criminals then pushed him out of his moving Toyota Corolla.

“I ran for about 15 minutes through the bush from Richmond Road to White Road in Westgate. I was bleeding and getting tired when I finally came across a pedestrian, who offered to help me. After I had told him about the hijacking and shooting, he woke nearby residents.”

In pain and cold in the winter chill, he lay on the side of the road for about an hour waiting for an ambulance to take him to hospital.

“By that time I was thinking about death, and also feeling bad about ­defying my wife and children, who had asked me not to work late at night, but I am always tempted because of the money I can earn.

Earlier that evening, Nxumalo said, he was approached by the two men in the city centre. One of them said he wanted a metered taxi to collect his children from the Buffer area near Imbali.

“When we got to Buffer, one guy alighted on an open field and disappeared for about five minutes. He later returned without the children.

“He got into the car and drew a gun. The second man also drew a gun. They pushed me into the back seat and fired one shot at me before they drove away. Along the way, which passed KwaNyamazana [low- cost housing area] one was busy pick-pocketing me. Then at the corner of White and Richmond roads they pushed me out,” said Nxumalo.

Nxumalo, a married father of two sons aged 18 and 22, said he started operating the meter taxi in 2007 after he was retrenched.

“My wife is unemployed and I’m the only person who brings income in my family.

“If I get my taxi back I will never work until too late again,” he said.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said no one has been arrested in connection with the attack and that Nxumalo’s vehicle had not been recovered.

Nxumalo denied having walked five kilometres, as was reported by paramedics quoted in yesterday’s Witness.

A few weeks ago, two Metro Taxis drivers were hijacked in separate incidents. They were robbed of cash and valuables at gunpoint.

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