Taxi feud sows terror

2020-01-10 15:22
Five family members were ambushed by unknown gunmen while leaving their homestead in the Khobongwaneni area in Taylors Halt on Thursday. PHOTOS: ER24

Five family members were ambushed by unknown gunmen while leaving their homestead in the Khobongwaneni area in Taylors Halt on Thursday. PHOTOS: ER24 (taxi violence)

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Shock waves rippled through the Khobongwaneni area in Taylors Halt on Thursday as news spread about a gruesome attack in which a 27-year-old woman was killed, and a 23-year-old man left injured.

The woman, whom friends on social media platforms identified as Yandiswa Sbusi Ngcobo, and her family were shot by unknown assailants and four vehicles were torched at their homestead in an attack that has left the close-knit Khobongwaneni community in shock.

The attack came after two other people from the Ngcobo family were ambushed and killed last October.

Speculation was rife on Thursday that the attack was linked to taxi violence, or a family feud.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the attack happened at midday on Thursday.

She said it is alleged that five members of the family were leaving the homestead by car when armed men opened fire.

She said Yandiswa Ngcobo suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body and was declared dead at the scene. The 23-year-old man was shot in the shoulder. Other family members were not injured.

The Witness was not able to immediately establish the name of the man who was injured.

According to eyewitnesses who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, Ngcobo’s body was found lying in a field not far from the homestead. It is believed that she was cornered by the assailants and shot dead when she tried to run away.

Gwala said the assailants went to the homestead where they set alight two minibus taxis and two other private vehicles.

“The motive for the attack is yet to be established as investigations unfold.

“Charges of murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property are being investigated by Taylors Halt SAPS,” Gwala said.

When The Witness visited the area on Thursday, shocked neighbours did not want to speak to the media when questioned. The Witness journalist was advised to leave the area as it was still very volatile.

A local community leader, who also asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said the attack had caused panic among residents, who fear the assailants are running amok in the community and getting away with it.

“The situation there is very tense. We asked for police escort to go and visit the family but even they [police] are too scared to accompany us,” said the community leader.

The Witness was also told that the surviving family members had gone into hiding after the attack.

On Tuesday, Ngcobo tweeted that the family homestead had been attacked.

In the tweet she said: “Woke up at around 3.30 am because the whole house was smelling of smoke. I couldn’t go outside to check where the smell came from, meanwhile, they were trying to kill my brother.”

A close friend, who asked not to be named, said the family and friends had taken Ngcobo’s murder badly.

“She was very well known and well liked by many. Everyone is really upset and traumatised. Her family was living in fear, this is yet another senseless murder,” said the friend.

Following the news of Ngcobo’s death, her friends took to social media to pay their last respects.

One of her friends, Boo Zwane, tweeted: “Honestly, Sbusi was such a Gem! She bagged her coins! Bagged her qualifications! Just a young woman with a whole lot going for her. My heart goes out to her friends and family during this time.”

Another friend said: “No one deserves to die like that.”

Read more on:    taxi violence

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