Durban - A chance meeting with a client cost a motor mechanic his life on Tuesday when he and a taxi boss were killed in a shooting in Lindelani, north of Durban.
Themba Ncayiyana, 32, was shot dead just metres from his home. He had gone at about 2.30pm to buy a packet of chips at a tuck shop when the 45-year-old taxi owner, who was driving by in a bakkie, stopped to chat to him.
Ncayiyana had previously repaired the taxi owner’s vehicles.
“While they were busy chatting, unknown suspects came from nowhere and fired shots at them,” police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said.
“The taxi owner sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the body and the mechanic sustained a gunshot wound to the back. They both died at the scene.”
The shooting took place about 100m from the Lindelani Taxi Association’s offices.
A local resident, who asked not to be named as she feared for her life, said that when she heard gunshots she fell to the floor with her children. “There were a lot of gunshots and smoke.”
After a while, she went outside and saw the dead men a few metres apart from each other, she said.
The taxi owner was slumped inside his vehicle.
Robert Ncayiyana, 57, arrived home from work and noticed the crowd near the road. He was devastated to see his son’s body, which was covered with foil, on the pavement.
Onlookers sympathised as Ncayiyana wept. He said his son Themba had planned to marry the mother of his two sons, aged 3 and 5, next April.
Themba had learned to fix cars from a neighbour and became so good at it that owners of taxis and cars would come to him, his father said.
“There are people’s cars in our yard as we speak.”
The grief-stricken father said his son had enrolled at the local training college for a qualification in mechanical engineering so he could “formalise” his business.
“My son was trying to better himself. He has nothing to do with taxis,” he said. “Did he die only because he fixes them sometimes?”
The crime scene was cordoned off while police carried out their investigations. When they were done, locals helped remove the body and belongings from the vehicle.
After the bodies were loaded into the mortuary van, the victims’ families scrubbed the blood off the road.
Zwane said the motive for the double murder was not yet known.
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport spokesman Kwanele Ncalane said that while the shooting was being regarded as an isolated incident the department could not rule out the possibility of it being linked to issues plaguing the taxi industry, such as the tug of war over routes.
Ncalane said the department was disturbed by the latest murders and had noted with concern the rate at which violence in the taxi industry was increasing.
He appealed for calm and called for the peaceful discussion of unresolved issues.
Zwane said no arrests had been made.