Taxi bosses arrested for suspected unlicensed guns following tip-off

2015-11-18 06:00
Photo: Ian Carbutt Constable Phindi Madlala with the two guns recovered from suspects believed to be KwaDukuza taxi bosses.

Photo: Ian Carbutt Constable Phindi Madlala with the two guns recovered from suspects believed to be KwaDukuza taxi bosses.

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THREE KwaDukuza taxi bosses and their personal security guards were arrested in Pietermaritzburg last Tuesday for the possession of unlicensed guns and ammunition.

The men were armed with a police-issued gun and a R5 assault rifle.

According to Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese, the police were concerned over an influx of weapons into the city, brought by taxi owners arriving from the KwaDukuza area.

It is believed taxi owners who operate between the KwaDukuza and Maphumulo areas were called to an urgent meeting regarding a dispute over routes and permits in those areas.

Ngobese said members of the K9 unit last week received information that a black VW Golf was carrying passengers who had in their possession guns and live ammunition.

In a joint operation carried out by members of the K9 unit, tactical response team and flying squad, police officers swooped on the unsuspecting taxi bosses who were driving along Chief Albert Luthuli Street.

One taxi boss, whose name is known to The Witness (Weekly’s sister publication), was found in possession of a pistol, which is believed to be a police-issued gun.

The serial number on the gun was filed off and four rounds of live ammunition were also found in the magazine.

It is thought that the firearm was stolen.

A security guard, believed to be an employee of a Durban-based security company, was found with an R5 assault rifle with 30 rounds of live ammunition.

Ngobese said yesterday the police were still in the process of determining whether the assault rifle was licensed and if the security guard was authorised by his employers to carry the weapon to Pietermaritzburg.

In a statement issued by the KZN Department of Transport, MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu commended the members of the police for swiftly apprehending the suspects.

Commenting on the arrest, MEC Mchunu applauded the police, saying it is through proactive and intelligence led operations that the Government would prevent violence in the taxi industry.

“Taxi operators from KwaDukuza and Maphumulo have been famous for killing each other. I want to commend the police for the job well done in their quick response in apprehending these suspects. With such high caliber firearms one can only wonder what was going to happen if police did not act proactively. The government will not tolerate any form of behavior that will destabilize the taxi industry. I want to commend the community members who gave the tip-off of to the police. Only partnership between the communities and the police can ensure a safe KwaZulu-Natal” said Mchunu.

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