Ambush leaves 10 dead

2017-11-01 10:37
Police and paramedics at the scene outside Ladysmith where 10 people died after a drive-by shooting.

Police and paramedics at the scene outside Ladysmith where 10 people died after a drive-by shooting. (Claudine Senekal (Ladysmith Herald))

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A “well-planned hit” on a Klipriver taxi boss left 10 people dead near Ladysmith on Tuesday morning.

The Klipriver Taxi Association deputy chairperson, Muzikayifani Ngobese, his daughter Nozipho, two bodyguards and Ngobese’s driver came under fire from high-calibre weapons while they were travelling in a bakkie along the Matiwaneskop Road at 7 am on Tuesday.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said the occupants of two unknown vehicles began firing shots.

When the hail of bullets hit Ngobese’s car the driver lost control and crashed into an oncoming minibus taxi that was transporting teachers.

The taxi boss and all occupants of his car were shot dead. Another five people in the minibus taxi died and other passengers were seriously injured.

Police immediately swarmed on to the scene. Traffic officers, forensic personnel, mortuary services, fire and rescue services and state officials also gathered there.

Forensic personnel combed the scene.

The Taxi Violence Unit VIP Protection — a private security company — confirmed that two of its employees had been in the bakkie guarding Ngobese when they became victims of the “well-planned hit”.

The husband of one of the teachers who died in the crash said his family would have to “pray and accept” the tragedy that had befallen their family.

Dressed in a grey shirt, T.H. Dlamini said his wife, Zandile, was a teacher at Matiwane Primary School.

He would always drop her off in Klip­river for her lift club before taking their two children to school.

The incident had shaken him and he was “not in a good place” to speak more about his wife.

A docket for five counts of murder and five of culpable homicide was opened at Elangslaagte police station and will be investigated by the Provincial Taxi Task Team, said Mbhele.

She said the motive for the attack was part of the investigation.

KZN police commissioner Major-General Bheki Langa said: “Such violent attacks cannot be tolerated. Our detectives are on their toes, working to solve the case.

“Serious and violent crimes are dealt with upmost importance to maintain the safety of our citizens.”

KZN Education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa confirmed that teachers from Matiwane Primary School and Masoyi Secondary School were involved in the deadly ambush.

“We have ... dispatched our district officials to visit the affected schools and families to gather more information,” said Mthethwa.

He said Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane had passed his condolences on to the families, the colleagues and the pupils of the teachers that were killed.

Matiwane Primary School principal Joyce Buthelezi said they had been left extremely traumatised by the entire ordeal.

“It’s been a dreadful day for both teachers and pupils. We had to send our children home early today because the teachers were not coping with the grief. I was also at the scene and it was a disturbing sight,” said Buthelezi.

She added that the school had lost valuable and dedicated staff members.

Democratic Alliance KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango called on MEC Mxolisi Kaunda to urgently ensure that the police in KZN are equipped and capable to deal with such incidents.

“We cannot allow the ANC to make this province a gangster’s paradise where izinkabi [hit men] perform a reign of terror.”

Mncwango said the incident highlights the desperate need for proper police training and the return of specialised units to combat crime in the province.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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