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Durban - A swift move by police in Eshowe resulted in the arrest of two suspected hit men alleged to have been paid to kill a taxi owner, the KwaZulu-Natal police said on Sunday.

Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the police crime intelligence and the provincial taxi task team swooped on the two before they could carry out the killing on Friday afternoon.

The arrests come after an Estcourt taxi owner and his wife were killed in a drive-by shooting near their home town on January 8.

Mbhekiseni Dlamini, 43, and Sbongile Dlamini, 35, were travelling on the N3 southbound when an unidentified car that had been following them overtook and its occupants fired shots at them.

The couple died at the scene.

The day before, another taxi owner was killed in Folweni, Isipingo, in a drive-by shooting in which more than 60 shots were fired.

The men arrested yesterday were apparently paid R13 500 to carry out the murder.

“Siyabonga Mbonambi, a prominent taxi owner (in) Eshowe, was to be killed that evening, but police crime intelligence and the provincial taxi task team intercepted…” Mdunge said.

The two men were arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder.

In a separate case, the provincial taxi task team, assisted by the National Intervention Unit, arrested two men linked to taxi killings in Folweni, Isipingo.

The pair were arrested in the Umbumbulu area, south of Durban, on Thursday night, and appeared in court the following day.

“One of the suspects… was found in possession of a 9mm unlicensed handgun,” he said.

“He was linked to a double murder charge, where two security guards who had ties with the local taxi association were gunned down by a group of men while the third victim had a narrow escape.”

The two were also linked to the killing of a man that took place in Watson Road, Isipingo.

“The seized firearm will be sent for ballistic testing to ascertain whether it was used to commit any other crimes…”

The men will appear in court again on January 25 for a bail application.

The Mercury and Sapa