Taxi owner shot at car wash

2018-03-20 13:30
Drivers fears more attacks in war for Edendale routes.

Drivers fears more attacks in war for Edendale routes. (File)

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A man was gunned down in a hail of bullets in Edendale on the weekend in what some fear is the latest incident of taxi violence there.

Thokozani Ntombela (39) was ambushed outside his car wash business next to Wadley stadium in Edendale on Saturday afternoon.

Ntombela, a member of the Edendale Taxi Association, was standing with five other men outside the car wash when two unknown assailants opened fire.

He was hit by more than 10 bullets in the head and upper body.

A distraught relative, who asked not to be named, said, “I was in the house and I heard gunshots. Minutes later, one of his friends came running into the house and told me Thokozani had been shot. I rushed to the scene hoping to find him alive.”

The relative said she found Ntombela lying in a pool of blood.

“He was not breathing. I asked one of his friends to call an ambulance but one of them told me it was too late.

“He had several bullet wounds to his body and head. One bullet pierced through his left eye.

“In that moment I couldn’t cry. I could see that he was gone, I had to be strong. I went inside the house and took a blanket to cover his body until the police arrived.”

The relative said Ntombela feared for his life amid an ongoing feud with other taxi owners in the area.

“We were waiting for this to happen. He knew they were after him. For months we have been living in fear. Following a meeting between the taxi owners last week he really thought that the grudge was over.”

In January, a taxi driver and his assistant were shot in the Esigodini area.

The driver, Siyabonga Molefe, was shot in the neck while his assistant, Samkelo Gugushe (17), was shot in the buttocks. The pair survived.

To date, five people have been killed and four minibus taxis torched in feuding between the Edendale/Esigodini Taxi Association and the Umkhonto taxi group.

A member of the Edendale Taxi Association, who also declined to be named, said it was not clear whether the killing was still related to the fight over taxi routes between the two groups.

“We can’t point any fingers now. It’s possible that the members are still attacking each other.”

“It seems there is a conflict among the two groups. The rate at which our members and taxi drivers are being killed is not normal.”

Plessislaer police spokesperson Captain Musa Ntombela said the two gunmen had pretended to be selling some items of clothing before firing shots.

Ntombela said police are investigating a charge of murder; however no arrests have been made yet.

He said the police cannot confirm whether the incident is linked to the ongoing taxi route dispute in the area, but said police have not ruled that out as a possibility.

The Witness was unable to get comment from the Umkhonto taxi group on Monday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  taxi violence

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