KZN taxi boss killed, passenger hurt

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Durban - POLICE are monitoring the KwaDukuza (Stanger) taxi rank after a taxi operator was shot dead and a passenger was left fighting for her life, in two shooting incidents late last week.

On Friday morning, Mape Ngcobo was shot dead outside his house in Glendale, KwaMaphumulo.

The previous day, a passenger was badly injured in a shoot-out at the KwaMaphumulo taxi rank.

It has been alleged security companies contracted to the KwaDukuza and KwaMaphumulo taxi associations were involved in the shooting.

At least 28 R5 cartridges and two 9mm cartridges were found at the scene.

It was unclear whether the two incidents were related.

KwaDukuza has been beset by taxi violence in recent years. Rival associations have been feuding over the Darnall route.

The shootings prompted Transport MEC, Willies Mchunu, to meet separately with rival organisations on Saturday.

Violence

Mchunu’s spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, said the meeting was to determine who had the right to operate the Darnall route.

Mchunu condemned the violence.

“We must be very clear in that private security companies operate within a set of regulations that govern their work. This includes ensuring the safety of the members of the community, wherever they operate, especially in the public transport sector,” Ncalane said.

He said additional police had been deployed to the area.

Sizwe Zubane of KwaMaphumulo Taxi Association accused their north coast rivals, the KwaDukuza Taxi Association, of being behind Friday’s killing.

“He (Ngcobo) had just left his home to go to work when he was ambushed,” Zubane said.

He said Ngcobo had led a group of people to the local police station to report Thursday’s shooting.

KwaDukuza Taxi Association deputy chairman, Bongizwe Mhlongo, denied his association’s involvement in the murder.

“They (members of the KwaMaphumulo Taxi Association) are killing each other and now blaming us for their own actions.

“We have already heard about their internal feud. We have nothing to do with it. Their guards started shooting at us,” Mhlongo said.

Zubane claimed the dispute had nothing to do with the Darnall route.

He said their rivals had wanted to take over their rank.

But Mhlongo said their members were always peaceful and they had tried to avoid violence.

“The route is ours. We have permits to prove it. We have told the MEC that we need police protection,” said Mhlongo.

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said police could not determine whether the death of the taxi owner was related to the continuing taxi dispute.

“Police are investigating a case of murder and attempted murder,” Zwane said.

No arrests had been made.

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