KZN taxi boss dies in hail of bullets

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Copy of Copy of nd robbery (39163086) INLSA The body of taxi boss Mzovele Cele, 29, who was gunned down at a taxi rank in Isipingo Rail. Picture: Puri Devjee

A minibus taxi boss died in a hail of bullets that also wounded two bystanders in Isipingo on Thursday.

Police counted 16 spent bullet cartridges around the body of Mzovele Cele, 29, who was gunned down by four men in broad daylight.

Cele, originally from Port Shepstone, was on his way to meet an associate at a taxi rank in Isipingo Rail.

The associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life, said Cele had phoned him at about 8am to say he was coming to collect rank fees as he usually did on Thursdays. The source said that, as the owner of one of the taxi businesses in the Prospecton Taxi Association, Cele was tasked with collecting the money.

“He collected from the nearby Jacobs taxi rank first and was making his way to collect here,” said the source.

A bystander said he had just walked out of a small shopping centre when he heard the shots. “At first I thought it was fireworks. But then I saw people running away and scattering all over,” he said.

A woman who works in a shop at the entrance of the centre said the shots came in such quick succession that people had run into the shop to take refuge before she realised what was happening. When the shooting stopped, three people were lying on the ground.

A witness said a young woman had been shot in her side and an older woman in the leg. They were taken to Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in a stable condition.

Cele’s associate said he had huddled in a taxi when he heard the gunfire.

“There was no mistaking that sound,” he said, explaining he had then gone to Cele where he was lying at the entrance of the centre just a few metres away from the rank.

“His eyes were still open but they had rolled back so that I could only see the whites of his eyes. He had been shot multiple times, mainly in the head,” he said.

The associate placed a towel that Cele had been carrying over his face as onlookers began to gather.

Police later combed the scene for evidence before Cele’s bloodied body was removed.

The source said this was the second time Cele had been attacked by gunmen. He was shot last year at Glebelands Hostel where he lived.

“He survived that shooting but we never knew if it was related to taxis, troubles he may have had at home or because of the money he collected.”

He did not think robbery was the motive for the killing because the money Cele had collected from the Jacobs rank was still on him.

Cele leaves three children, including a 2-month-old child.

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said the motive was unknown and no arrests had been made.

- Daily News


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