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Durban - Two men travelling in a taxi boss’s private car died in a “hail of bullets” after they were ambushed in KwaDukuza on Thursday.
It is believed the shootings might be related to a long-running feud between two rival taxi associations, Stanger and Dolphin Coast.
A van with eight armed men inside pulled up alongside the car and ordered the five occupants to get out. Three men ran away, but the two who lay down were shot.
Taxi owner Dennis Mhlongo, a member of the Stanger Taxi Association, was killed, along with an unidentified man who had been involved in an accident earlier with one of his vehicles.
They had been looking for a panel beater to repair a taxi when they were shot on the R102 at about 8am on Thursday.
Taxi owner and member of the same association, Bongani Mbuyisa, 43, said the car had been cut off by a white Mercedes Benz Vito van.
“Eight armed men with rifles and 9mm pistols ordered us to lie down on our bellies outside the car,” he said.
Those who listened were shot dead, he said.
“It was an ambush. I do not know how the three of us survived.” Mbuyisa claimed that he had seen a member of a rival association at the scene.
But the Daily News spoke to the man, and he denied this, claiming the occupants of the car had been out looking for trouble and that members of his association had retaliated.
“I was not even there; to say I was part of the shooting is purely mischievous,” he said.
“These guys had been heavily armed, it was clear they were looking for war.
“When they started shooting, my colleagues then retaliated. That’s how their members got killed.”
The man, who said he was not worried about being implicated, said he was at home fixing his cars at the time of the shootings. He said he had been “bullied out” of the Stanger Taxi Association.
“These are not people but animals. They want to control the Dolphin Coast route and that will never happen. I have been shot at many times before but survived.”
The man said the situation had been very tense since two bystanders were wounded in a Ballito taxi rank shooting earlier this year during a confrontation. The other two survivors of yesterday’s shootings were Bongani Ngcamu, 45, and Mboneni Mhlongo.
Mhlongo said he had survived several “hits” in the past and pointed at bullet scars on his arms, legs and torso.
The deputy president of the Stanger Taxi Association, Bongizizwe Mhlongo, said:
“It is not the first time this has happened but there have never been any arrests. We have (had) more than seven victims,” he said.