A loving dad from Blackheath drove his family to safety in his final moments after he was shot by criminals who tried to hijack him.
In a separate incident earlier, the would-be hijackers fatally shot Patrick Cosani, chairman of the Blackheath-Malibu Taxi Association, in his school bus in his driveway.
Dad John Neethling, who was shot by two men in Heath Road, Blackheath, managed to drive his white VW Polo Vivo to a nearby garage where he passed away.
Relatives say John, 32, was the rock of his family. Every day, he took his one-year-old son to créche and his daughter, 10, to school.
On Tuesday at 6.13am, he had his kids with him as well as his mother-in-law, 54, whom he intended to drop at her work place in Kuils River, when tragedy struck.
Despite being shot, John managed to drive his family to safety, stopping at Buttskop Road opposite a petrol station.
The drama started in Heath Road, where the 49-year-old Cosani was pulling out of his driveway when gunmen opened fire on him through the driver’s side window.
It is understood his minor child had been in the bus.
Cosani, who was the owner of Cosani’s Transport, was killed. His family has refused to speak to the media, saying they were too traumatised.
Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has condemned the violence.
“After hearing about this incident, I immediately instructed officials from my department to meet with the leadership of the South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) to discuss how we can jointly work towards ensuring calm in the area and to prevent any acts of retaliation,” said Madikizela.
The Blackheath-Malibu area has been plagued by route invasions by illegal operators in the past, which has caused flare-ups of violence and sporadic clashes between taxi associations and operators.
Meanwhile, John’s brother-in-law, who only wanted to be identified as Wesley, says the family left home just before 6am.
“He was a homely guy, who never went anywhere really except with his family. As my mother explained, as he drove, these two guys ran past and shot him.
“He managed to reverse and drive to the garage with his family, where he passed away. We don’t know why they shot him, maybe they thought he saw something (about the other shooting) or maybe they wanted something from him, but this happened just after the first shooting.
“I just got a call that I must come to the garage and bring a blanket for the baby and I didn’t know what had happened.”
Police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk, says the circumstances surrounding the two shootings are being investigated.
“The motive for both these shootings is currently unknown.”