Johannesburg - The man screamed as he ran up the northbound lane of William Nicol Drive in full view of traffic and onlookers.
An irate mob of taxi drivers – armed with stones, sticks and knobkieries – followed close on his heels, chanting in Zulu that he should die.
The hysterical man – also a taxi driver – ran to a Shell garage and banged on the locked glass doors, screaming at those inside to call police.
“Why kill me, when I’m already dead?” he shouted in Zulu at the mob as they closed in on him.
He made a run for it again, but tripped. The mob caught up with him and began beating him mercilessly.
“They beat him so much that a knobkierie broke,” said a traumatised eyewitness, who asked not to be named for fear of being victimised.
Just then, a man known only as Jabu, dressed in a blue T-shirt, arrived in a Toyota Quantum.
A taxi driver from the Bree Street taxi rank, Jabu was in a rage and was baying for the blood of the man in the maroon shirt.
“Leave him, Jabu,” the other drivers said, “we’ve already taken care of him.”
But Jabu would have none of it. He wanted “the dog” dead.
“Jabu pulled a knife out of his pocket and stabbed the man about four times and then went to fetch a big rock and brought it down on the man’s head. When I looked at him, his face had caved in,” the shaken witness said, adding that the commotion took place at about 1 in the afternoon.
Satisfied with their work, the mob withdrew, but as they walked back down the way they had come, another minibus appeared.
“There’s another one,” a shout from the group went out as the driver of the white Quantum, realising the danger, slammed on the brakes and began reversing.
The crowd began chasing the vehicle and threw rocks, with Jabu leading the charge.
“Jabu stood in front of the taxi near the island and spread his arm, trying to block its path. That’s when it ran over him.”
The panicked driver drove over the island into oncoming traffic, dragging Jabu beneath his vehicle for several metres.
When the taxi drove over the island, back onto the northbound lane, Jabu’s body was left crumpled over the median rocks as the driver sped away. He died on the scene.
The mob jumped into taxis and raced after him, while one of the onlookers called an ambulance for the man in the maroon shirt.
When EMER-G-MED paramedics arrived on the scene they said they had found that, minutes away on the corner of William Nicol and Hobart, a taxi driver had been assaulted.
“The incident was linked (to the first), but the driver refused to give details of what happened. SAPS will be doing further investigations,” a statement said.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said: “The taxi driver ran over a man and did not stop, so we’re investigating a case of culpable homicide. We’re still looking for him. The taxi found further up was a separate incident.”