Durban — Analyst and violence monitor Mary de Haas says the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) has never taken constructive action in taxi industry conflicts. This is after a taxi boss was gunned down on Tuesday night at KwaMashu in J-section on Mthombothi Road while he was in his spaza shop.
Last week a taxi boss was gunned down in Ladysmith and at the beginning of the week the Daily News reported about a shooting at a taxi rank in this area.
The taxi boss, who is known as Fakazi, 54, was killed along with two people who had come to the spaza. A 28-year-old woman Nosipho Gumede was fatally wounded and 24-year-old Thokozani Nyawo was shot and later died at Poly Clinic.
Moreover, De Haas said the taxi violence has been ongoing. Politicians and the police have interests in this industry, she said. She also accused the police of taking kickbacks and said dockets may disappear.
Nyawo’s cousin, Christopher Nyawo said they were still shocked by what happened on Tuesday night. “I heard the gunshots when they were being fired and I was in shock. They stopped and started again,” he said.
He said they were scared to tell Nyawo’s father because he is too old and Nyawo was his only son. Christopher said Nyawo resided at K-section of KwaMashu and on Tuesday he had gone to the spaza shop to just chill.
“We normally just chill at the spaza shop as it’s hot now. I guess he was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Christopher.
He said his cousin had no children and worked in uMhlanga as a cook. As a family they are shocked and sad about what happened, he said.
The family of Fakazi refused to talk to the media and said it will not help them in any way because he is never going to wake up.
The Gumede family said they were not comfortable talking to the media as they are busy with the funeral arrangements.
A neighbour, who did not want her name to be mentioned, said she had lost count of how many gunshots were fired.
“When I heard the gunshots my stomach turned and I had diarrhoea,” said the neighbour. Irene Ndlovu, 74, said she feared for her safety and that of her neighbours.
“This is not a place to reside in. There have been many incidents in this area but the shooting just made things worse. I am scared,” said Ndlovu.
A witness said he saw a man driving a Corolla who first got out and went to stand some distance from the spaza shop. He came back and started to shoot. He said the same Corolla was seen driving around on Wednesday at midday.
Police spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Colonel Robert Netshiunda, confirmed the incident and said KwaMashu police are investigating three counts of murder.
“It is alleged that an unknown man approached a spaza shop owner and pretended as if he wanted to buy cigarettes.
“After the owner told him that they did not sell cigarettes, the man reportedly went back to his vehicle and immediately four men got out of the same vehicle armed with rifles and opened fire at the 54-year spaza shop owner. He was declared dead at the scene,” said Colonel Netshiunda.
He said nothing was taken from the spaza shop and the suspect jumped into the getaway vehicle and they fled the scene. When the Daily News got into the area the spaza shop was closed and the was no sign of blood.
The Santaco spokesperson in the province, Sifiso Shangase, said they were trying to bring peace within the industry. There are various steps that taxi bosses can take to resolve any issues they might encounter, he said.
Shangase conveyed his condolences to all the families. He said the killings in the taxi industry were too much.
“Enough is enough. Let us value the life of one another,” he said.
He said sometimes it happened that their members get killed because of other reasons not related to the taxi industry.
“I’m not saying that is the case with this incident,” he said.
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