Top team hunts killers

2018-07-23 15:45
KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda viewing the minibus taxi in which 11 men died in a shooting on the R74 between Colenso and Weenen.

KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda viewing the minibus taxi in which 11 men died in a shooting on the R74 between Colenso and Weenen. (Mbuyiselo Ndlovu)

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WATCH: Footage shows bullet-riddled minibus taxi in which 11 people were killed

2018-07-23 12:42

Eleven people died after a minibus taxi was ambushed on the R74 in KwaZulu-Natal - an incident police believe to be related to taxi violence. WATCH.WATCH

More than 200 bullet casing littered the road after a taxi ambush killed 11 people on the R74 between Colenso and Weenen on Saturday night.

The taxi association members were returning from the funeral of a taxi operator in the Matimatolo area outside Greytown.

Police had said that the taxi, transporting 17 passengers, had been heading to Johannesburg when a car carrying an unknown number of gunmen opened fire.

A source who could not be named said around 200 bullet casings were found at the scene.

It is also believed that two people in the taxi were able to escape unharmed as they had crouched on the floor of the vehicle and crawled out from under a pile of bodies when the gunfire stopped.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said in a statement released on Sunday that the national commissioner of police, General Khehla Sitole, condemned “the senseless killing of 11 people associated to the Ivory Park Taxi Association in Gauteng”.

Various specialised police units including Crime Intelligence, the Hawks, detectives, the Special Task Force and other officials would take part in the investigation.

The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda, also released a statement on Sunday ordering a “full investigation into the murder of 11 people”.

Kaunda, in his statement, distanced the incident from the ongoing taxi conflicts in Ladysmith that have resulted in the suspension of some operations belonging to the Sizwe and Klipriver Taxi Associations.

In November last year, 10 people were killed in a taxi violence incident there.

Klipriver Taxi Association deputy chairperson Muzikayifani Ngobese, his daughter Nozipo, two bodyguards and Ngobese’s driver were shot while they were travelling along Matiwaneskop Road by gunmen.

Ngobese’s car swerved and hit a taxi transporting a group of teachers to a nearby school — killing five occupants of the taxi.

The violence was believed to be linked to ongoing conflict between the Sizwe Transport Association and the Klip­river Taxi Association. The two rivals are allegedly fighting over the lucrative Ladysmith-to-Johannesburg route.

“We have not found any link that this incident is related with the taxi conflicts in Ladysmith or anywhere else in the province,” said Kaunda.

“The areas have been stable since government intervened. There are strong indications, however, that this incident is related with taxi conflict in Gauteng.”

General Sitole has activated a 72-hour action plan grouping members from specialised units “to trace and apprehend those responsible for these killings”.

“The acting provincial commissioner of KwaZulu-Natal, Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, and his management team are overseeing the investigation into these murders.

“We will await for the investigation to advance before speculating on a motive,” said Sitole.

Anyone with information that will assist police is encouraged to contact their nearest police station or phone the SAPS Crime Hot-Line at 08600 10111. Callers may remain anonymous and all information will be treated with strictest confidence.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  taxi violence

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