Four taxi operators arrested for murder of taxi owner and woman in Limpopo

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  • Four taxi operators were arrested for the murder of a taxi owner and his companion at a Limpopo petrol station.
  • Police said Fourie Maphayi and his companion Deborah Moila were shot execution style shortly after they arrived at the petrol station near Bellevue.
  • One taxi operator was arrested in Tzaneen and the three others were traced and arrested in Tembisa, Gauteng.

Four taxi operators were arrested on Friday for allegedly killing a taxi owner and a woman at a Limpopo petrol station last month.

One was arrested in Tzaneen and the other three in Tembisa, Gauteng, police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.

The deceased taxi owner, Fourie Maphayi, 47, and his 42-year-old companion, Deborah Moila, were shot execution style after they arrived at the petrol station in Mohlabaneng Cross, near Bellevue on 10 August.

"Soon after arriving at the said filling station, the taxi owner got out of the vehicle and entered the shop, leaving Moila in the vehicle. Two suspects emerged and one entered the shop and started firing shots at the taxi owner while the other shot at the woman sitting inside the vehicle. The assailants then disappeared," Mojapelo said.

With the assistance of a private security company, a team of investigators arrested one of the taxi operators, aged 36, in Tzaneen. The three others, aged between 30 and 40, were traced to Tembisa.

"One of the suspects almost ran one of the officers over in an attempt to evade arrest but was arrested after a high-speed chase that also resulted in a shootout with the police. The suspect sustained injuries during the shootout and was admitted to hospital under heavy police guard. During the arrest, a 9mm pistol with ammunition and the getaway BMW 3 series [vehicle] were confiscated. Police also recovered a Toyota Quantum which was possibly used in the killings," Mojapelo added.

Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe welcomed the arrests.

"The meticulous investigations conducted by members of this team and the subsequent arrests with the support of the private sector are highly commendable. The violence in the taxi industry across the province will not be tolerated. Perpetrators will be hunted down to face the full might of the law," Hadebe said.

Three taxi operators are expected to appear in the Bolobedu Magistrate's Court soon.

The injured one will appear in court as soon as he recovers. He will face additional charges of possession of an unlawful firearm and ammunition and reckless and negligent driving.

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