Accused in Hout Bay taxi shootout claims he lost gun in the chaos

2019-05-07 18:23
Forensics on Hout Bay Main Road combing the scene where four bodies had been found. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Forensics on Hout Bay Main Road combing the scene where four bodies had been found. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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One of two men arrested in connection with a Hout Bay shootout in April has admitted that he had a gun on him at the time, but that he lost it in the chaos without using it.

Nhlanhla Chamane is the second person to have been arrested following the shooting on April 1 which left four taxi association members dead, and two passengers injured. 

His co-accused Bandile Rotyi, who was shot in the legs on the day, winced as he hobbled back to custody on his crutches after his bail application was postponed due to his lawyer's unavailability. Chamani's application continued.

Chamani's lawyer Jacques van Niekerk said his client, 56, currently operates a private shuttle service with a shuttle licence, not a taxi, after selling his three taxis to the City of Cape Town.

One of Chamani's tasks as a member of the Cape Unity Taxi Association (Cuta), is to monitor taxi ranks.

He had told police about problems between rival taxi organisations before and in a bid to manage the tension between four taxi associations, ranks were separated.

'Everybody ran'

On the day of the shooting near the police station, a vehicle from a rival organisation drove past them at the Cuta rank, made a U-turn, and the occupants jumped out and shot at them.

"I did not even consider returning fire although I was armed with my pistol. Everybody ran. Shots continued to be fired, and during my evasive movements my pistol fell and I did not have it with me anymore," he said through Van Niekerk.

Taximen Sibonelo Mrolota, Xolani Nkanti, Mpumzile Mkiva and Gina Kashama were killed. Three were members of Cuta, and one a member of the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata), although the court did not specify who.

Hamied Abdul and Geofrey Kavume, understood to be passengers, were injured. 

Chamane said the licence for his legally obtained firearm had expired. He said he had been told licence renewal procedures were difficult at the moment but he had taken his competency test already in anticipation of the renewal.

Police cordoned the area off after the shooting so he could not look for his gun, but in later days contacted the police about it.

Gun found with no magazine

Prosecutor Nicky Kolisi said police found it in a sewerage pipe without its magazine so he was charged on four charges of murder and two of attempted murder. 

Van Niekerk said his client had been in the taxi business since he left school after Grade 10 and has no criminal record or any complaints of violence against him.

He also needs to take care of his son who has a rare medical condition, to maintain his rental properties, supervise the building of a house for his mother and keep his transport shuttle business going. His wife was retrenched recently so there is no other income.

The father of 10 earned around R35 000 a month from his enterprises, and could pay bail. 

Magistrate Goolam Bawa noted that since ballistics tests were still outstanding, Chamane faced no weapons-related charges yet, and was not a flight risk, he was granted R3 000 bail with conditions.

Since his business operates around Hout Bay he is not banned from the area.

The matter was postponed for both to return on May 29.

READ: Taxi crackdown planned after Hout Bay bloodbath

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