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Durban - A man who died after he was unwittingly caught up in a long-running feud between two rival taxi associations in KwaDukuza has been identified.
Khulekani Mdletshe, 27, who worked as a mechanic in Durban, died together with a taxi owner, Dennis Mhlongo in a hail of bullet during an ambush on the R102 in Groutville last week.
Mdletshe’s fiancée, Samke Buthelezi, 25, of Empangeni, on Tuesday told of her shock at learning that the “sweet and humble” man had been killed.
She said he had no links to the taxi feud between the Stanger and Dolphin Coast taxi associations.
Buthelezi said she had taken their daughter Zanokuhle, 2, to visit her father (Mdletshe) just a day before his death.
“His daughter was so excited when she saw her father. It seems (now) like she was bidding him farewell. My heart nearly stopped; I could not believe when I heard the terrible news. I asked what he has got to do with taxi business,” said Buthelezi.
She said her fiancé had been staying in Ballito, but working in Durban.
He would transport students in a microbus from Stanger and Shakaskraal to UKZN and DUT and then go to his workplace, at KZN CV Joint.
She said she learnt through the media that he had been on his route to pick up his passengers on Thursday morning when he was involved in a crash with a taxi belonging to a member of the Stanger association.
The owner of the taxi and his colleagues arrived at the scene and Mdletshe accompanied them in their car to get quotes.
It was on their way to a panelbeater that they were ambushed.
Mdletshe and Mhlongo died at the scene. Three others in the car escaped unharmed.
Buthelezi described her sadness at knowing that their wedding plans had been dashed.
She felt his killers should be severely punished.
“We had been madly in love since we met five years ago. He was very sweet, very humble. He would not harm a fly,” she said.
The manager at KZN CV Joint who would only identify himself as Kevin, said the mechanic had been at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“It is heartbreaking to talk about it. He had been with us for the past five years. We really do not know what happened except that he got killed,” Kevin said.
Meanwhile, a fourth suspect linked to the shooting was arrested on Tuesday morning by the KwaDukuza SAPS assisted by the Provincial Taxi Violence Task Team Unit.
SAPS spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said a 42-year-old suspect had been found in possession of a 9mm pistol with 13 live rounds.
He would be charged with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder as well as possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition. The recovered firearm would be sent for ballistics tests to establish if it was used during the attack on the victims.
This follows last week’s arrest in Prospecton of three men who have been arrested on the same charges.
After a short appearance in the KwaDukuza Magistrate’s Court on Monday, the three were remanded in custody until tomorrow.
Mdletshe is expected to be buried on Saturday at Hlabisa.