DELFT, 2014/06/06. A driver and the taxi guard were shot dead in Leiden Avenue in Hague in Delft, Western Cape. Picture: Leon Knipe

Cape Town -

Taxi driver Clive Jagels saved the life of one of his best friends 18 years ago.

But on Saturday Brian van Nelson lamented the fact that he couldn’t be there on Friday evening to save Jagels’s life.

Jagels, 45, was shot dead at about 7pm while sitting in his minibus taxi on the corner of Hartbees and Leiden avenues in Delft, police spokesman Colonel Andrè Traut said.

Jagels’s guard, a 29-year-old man, was also shot dead, Traut added.

Van Nelson, 44, a plumber, described Jagels as a “vibrant person” who loved children and people, saying he was “one in a million”.

In 1996, when Van Nelson, then 26, had driven into a house in Delft, the occupants wanted to attack him with pick-axe handles. Jagels appeared on the scene, fired shots into the air, and saved him, Van Nelson said.

“That’s how we became friends, through him saving my life.

“I feel heartbroken about what happened to him and the fact that I could do nothing to save his life,” he said, adding that it appeared that Jagels was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

“I can’t understand that he’s gone. Everyone loved him. He always had a smile on his face.”

Jagels leaves his wife, Shirley, and two sons, Levino, 20, and Shaun, 12.

The taxi driver had been planning Levino’s 21st birthday celebration later this month, Van Nelson said.

He added that he and his friend’s wife had hugged one another and cried together at the family home in Delft yesterday morning.

Another of Jagels’s friends, Zenobia Alexander, said she and her family “are all in shock”.

“We don’t know what really happened. We were all very attached to him.”

The last time Alexander saw Jagels was on Wednesday evening, when Jagels told her and her boyfriend Marco they should get married, she said.

It’s unclear whether the killings were related to the taxi war in the Delft area that flared up in October and November last year, then again in April.

The conflict is over control of the Delft-Epping-Bonteheuwel and Delft-Khayelitsha routes, and involved fierce competition for passengers in the Delft area.

Van Nelson said Jagels and his guard’s cellphones, as well as their day’s takings, had not been stolen.

“It wasn’t a robbery,” he said.

Traut said the motive for the killings was unknown, and that no one had yet been arrested.

“The circumstances are under investigation,” he said.

Sunday Argus