Durban - A 13-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet in a shootout between gunmen and security guards working for the Zwelibomvu Taxi Association.

The KwaZulu-Natal transport department said four gunmen opened fire on Zwelibomvu Taxi Association members on Wednesday afternoon.

The department said in a statement on Thursday that according to police, one of the association’s security guards returned fire and in the shootout that ensued, the boy was hit and killed.

A taxi operator, who is a member of the executive of a taxi association, sustained gunshot wounds.

The gunmen are still at large and a task team have been deployed to investigate the incident.

MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda said: “We find it very painful that a family has lost their innocent child, because of taxi violence. This does not only inflict pain to the family, but it also destroys the fabric of society and the future of our nation.”

Kaunda condemned ongoing killings in the taxi industry, saying joint efforts are needed to work for stability in the taxi industry.

“In our meeting with the police, we agreed to review and beef up our plans in all notorious areas in the province. We are paying maximum attention to all areas engulfed by taxi conflict. Tough approaches are being implemented to end the scourge of taxi killings. We will continue to engage with key stakeholders to forge peace and stability”, said Kaunda.

The Mercury