Praise for cops after three alleged taxi hitmen arrested
Durban – THE South African National Taxi Council KZN applauded the efforts of law enforcement after the arrest of three suspects who were implicated in an alleged taxi violence-related shooting on Friday.
The shooting took place in Utrecht near Newcastle where two men were declared dead at the scene while a third was rushed to hospital.
The operation had been a joint effort with officers from Tactical Response Unit, K-9 Unit, local farmers and security companies.
Taxi violence has been under the spotlight in the province in recent months.
In June, a driver transporting school teachers was killed and three teachers were left injured following a shooting in Bruyns Hill, near Wartburg.
In July, a passenger was killed and five others were injured after gunmen opened fire on a taxi in Inanda.
Santaco KZN spokesperson Sifiso Shangase said the arrests were a step forward in addressing the scourge of taxi violence in the province.
“We extend our condolences to families of the deceased following this tragic act of violence and we pray for a speedy recovery for the third victim,” he said.
“We as Santaco commend the authorities for taking swift action and hope these arrests will lead to the apprehension of the mastermind behind these killings. It is easy to think it's the end of the story arresting the trigger man, but I think real progress will be made when whoever hires these men is arrested.”
According to police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala the suspects resisted arrest when they were spotted travelling between Nqutu and Dundee.
“Upon approaching the suspect’s vehicle there was a shoot-out. The suspects abandoned their vehicle and fled into the bushes while shooting at police. Three suspects, aged between 27 and 47, were arrested by the team while the fourth suspect managed to evade police arrest. Three AK-47 rifles with 84 rounds of ammunition were found in their possession.”
The three men were expected to appear at the Nqutu Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of murder, attempted murder and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.