Durban — KwaZulu-Natal police have described four taxi owners who were shot and killed by its provincial stabilisation unit as murder suspects who were on the police’s wanted list.
The men were taxi owners Thokozani Bizokwakhe Ncanana, his relative Thubelihle Ncanana and their associates Langelihle Biyela and Sjula Biyela.
The four were at Intibane Lodge outside Ulundi in the north of the province when they were found by police in the early hours of Saturday morning.
One of the men was a Maskandi artist known as Iqhawe lakoMenziwa, which is Biyela’s clan name.
According to a police statement, the four were suspected hitmen who were wanted for murders in Nongoma, Ulundi and Babanango last year.
KZN police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said the suspects were using the lodge as their hideout. Upon hearing the police shouting for them to come out, they opened fire.
“They were shot and fatally wounded in a shootout with police at Ntibane in the Babanango police precinct in the early hours of Saturday.
“The intelligence-led the police officers to a lodge where the suspects were hiding. When police announced their presence, the suspects fired shots from inside three chalets and in self-defence, police returned fire and a shootout ensued,” said Netshiunda.
After the shootout, four suspected hitmen were found to have suffered gunshot wounds and were certified dead at the scene. No police officer was injured during the shootout.
“Cases of attempted murder against police officers were also registered.”
According to an internal police report compiled by the unit commanders, seen by the newspaper, all four suspects were found with firearms and ammunition.
However, an anonymous source close to the Ncananas disputed the police’s version. He said the men were not in hiding but were at Intibane at the request of the community trust.
He said the Ncananas were being sought out by hitmen after they seceded from the local taxi association to establish theirs, adding that they were already operating from the new rank which angered the local association.
Santaco had not commented by the time of publication.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.