National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole addresses the National Youth Crime Prevention Summit at St George's Hotel in Irene.

PRETORIA - South African Police Service (SAPS) national commissioner Lt-Gen Khehla Sitole on Sunday condemned the senseless killing of 11 people associated with the Ivory Park Taxi Association, based in Gauteng, and announced a special task team will probe the incident..

The killings took place on Saturday night on the R74 between Colenso and Weenen in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo said. 

Preliminary reports indicated that the 11 were among 17 people travelling back to Johannesburg in a minibus taxi after a funeral in KwaZulu-Natal. 

It was believed that unknown men opened fire on the taxi, fatally wounding 11 people. Four others were critically wounded and were recuperating in hospital, while two escaped unharmed.

Sitole had activated a 72-hour action plan comprised of officers from specialised SAPS units, including crime intelligence, the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks), detectives, and the special task force to trace and apprehend those responsible for the killings, Naicker said.

KwaZulu-Natal acting police commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and his management team would oversee the investigation. "We will wait for the investigation to advance before speculating on a motive," Sitole said.

Earlier, Naicker said the minibus taxi from Gauteng was travelling from a funeral at Ematimotolo, proceeding back to Johannesburg just before 8pm. "On the R74 road between Colenso and Weenen unknown persons jumped onto the road from the bushes and opened fire at the taxi. Unconfirmed information for now indicates that passengers are from a taxi association in Gauteng attending the funeral of one of their members," he said.

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African News Agency (ANA)