Manhunt for taxi boss murder mastermind

2015-05-14 06:00
PHOTO: SUPPLIEDJoseph Masikane was gunned down in his Lynnfield Park home on Friday night.

PHOTO: SUPPLIEDJoseph Masikane was gunned down in his Lynnfield Park home on Friday night.

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THE hunt is on for the mastermind behind the murder of an elderly taxi boss gunned down in front of his family at his home in Lynnfield Park late last Friday night.

Members of Pietermaritzburg’s Combined Action Team (CAT) made a breakthrough when they arrested two suspects for murder, attempted murder, house robbery and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition shortly after they received news of the incident.

It is alleged that just after 10pm on Friday, a taxi owner, Joseph Masikane (72), and his wife were asleep in their house at Kingfisher Road in Lynnfield Park when two assailants kicked down the door and barged in.

The attackers demanded cash from the victims and allegedly shot and killed Masikane in front of his family.

His wife, Janet Nomusa Masikane (65), was wounded and taken to hospital for treatment.

The suspects fled the scene after the incident.

CAT members promptly responded and began tracing the suspects.

They came across a suspicious VW Golf in the vicinity of the house and arrested the first suspect after finding a 9 mm pistol in the car believed to be used in the murder.

After further investigations, which lasted into the early hours of Saturday morning, the team went to Eastwood in Pietermaritzburg where a second suspect was arrested with an R5 rifle in his possession.

Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said both the recovered firearms were believed to have been used during the shooting of the victims.

According to a police source close to the investigation, the alleged suspects are known hitmen who have been operating in the province for a while.

A case of murder, attempted murder and house robbery was opened at Camperdown police station for further investigation.

Both suspects, aged 21 and 25, are due to appear in the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court today.

A third man, believed to be the mastermind, is still at large and, according to Zwane, they are confident he will be arrested soon.

Yesterday Masikane’s friends and family gathered at his home to pay tribute and mourn his death.

Cries could be heard while the family elders gathered in the garage to discuss funeral arrangements.

Two of Masikane’s children, Mandla and Philani, described him as a friendly and humble man.

Masikane was a pensioner and an archbishop at the Free Church of God in his home town, Hammarsdale.

They would not discuss his affiliations with the taxi industry.

According to Philani, some of ­Masikane’s grandchildren, who were at the house during the time of his death, witnessed the shooting and are “extremely traumatised”.

Philani said his mother, who was ­also wounded, was discharged from hospital and is back home.

“The family is traumatised, especially the ones who witnessed it. He [Masikane] was a lovely person who was close to his family and the community,” Mandla said.

Masikane is survived by six children and seven grandchildren.

His funeral is scheduled to take place in Hammarsdale on Saturday. At the time of going to print, attempts to get comment from the Mpumalanga Taxi Association were unsuccessful

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