Pietermaritzburg - Pietermaritzburg Northern Suburbs Taxi Association vice-chairman, Vinesh Singh, was gunned down early on Friday in what is thought to be related to tensions over illegal operators in the area.

According to initial police reports, Singh allegedly travelled to the corner of Bombay Road and Balhambra Way in Northdale to pick up one of his drivers, when he was confronted by an unknown gunman.

As the sound of gunshots disturbed the peace at about 5.20am, shocked residents and family members gathered at the scene where Singh, who had been driving a white bakkie, was declared dead by paramedics.

Association chairman, Nazeer Khan, who was also at the scene, said it was believed the murder stemmed from the recent spate of protests over a move to curb illegal taxi operators in the area.

“This is deeply disturbing and shocking. It is hoped that the police work fast to bring these criminal elements to book,” Khan said.

Family who rushed to the scene after hearing of the shooting were too traumatised to speak to the media.

They stood crying and consoling each other as police and officials went about their business.