Four passengers killed in escalating taxi violence in South Africa’s KZN
Durban – The KwaZulu-Natal South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has raised concerns about escalating taxi violence incidents in the province.
This comes after four taxi passengers, aged between 24 and 56, were shot dead when gunmen opened fire on a taxi at Cacaneni area in Ekombe, outside Nkandla.
According to the police, the incident took place on Sunday.
KZN police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said that one passenger was also left injured while others escaped unharmed.
Mbele said charges of murder and attempted murder were opened for investigation by Ekombe SAPS.
Mbele said that on Monday, the police followed up information regarding the gunmen involved and the suspects’ vehicle was spotted at Kwahhoshi area in Babanango.
She said that upon the police officers approaching the suspects, a shoot-out ensued.
“The police managed to arrest a 40-year-old suspect. The suspect was found in illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Police also seized the vehicle used by the suspect,” she said.
She said that police were still seeking two suspects who managed to flee the scene.
Santaco KZN manager Sifiso Shangase said it was concerned about taxi violence particularly when it resulted in the deaths of passengers.
“We are hoping that the police will arrest everyone that is responsible for this gruesome incident,” he said.
He said that such incidents made commuters fearful and tarnished the name of the industry.
“We hope that people will come forward with possible explanations about what happened and what’s the reason behind it. If it is the issue of routes, everyone in the industry knows how to do to get a resolution. Resorting to violence must never be an option,” he said.
KZN Department of Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said that the department was aware of the incident.
He said that it was believed that the taxi was transporting passengers who were travelling from a wedding when the incident happened.
Ncalane said the department had not yet established whether the incident was taxi violence-related, or if it was an attack on those who were travelling.
“We are hoping to get more information as the investigation continues.
“From what we have gathered, the taxi was hired privately and was coming from a wedding.”
He further said a team from the police’s provincial cluster had been deployed to the area. The Mercury