Taxi violence on the up in KZN north coast after murders
The latest killing was that of Dustin Pillay, the manager of the Dolphin Taxi Association based in Shakaskraal, north of Durban.
Pillay’s family believe his death was a hit, orchestrated a month ago following the killing of the association’s manager, Cedric Ntombela, in August.
He was shot dead by three unidentified men on Monday. At the time of the attack, 37-year-old Pillay was in the company of his three bodyguards and his business partner.
His mother, who did not wish to be named, said her son had recently hired private security due to volatility in the industry.
“On Sunday, an order was given by the Taxi Violence Unit that private security were no longer allowed to carry rifles. The following day when Dustin went to the taxi rank, his security only had pistols,” she said.
The Taxi Violence Unit is a provincial task team of investigators who deal with taxi-related crimes.
His mother said Pillay left the taxi rank to go to a manager’s house, where he was to collect the week’s takings. On their way back, while parked on the side of the road not too far from the manager’s home, gunshots were heard.
“One bullet went through the back of his car and startled both his business partner and the security guards. They all managed to flee, leaving Dustin hiding outside the passenger’s side of the vehicle. One guard was injured,” said Pillay’s sister Nadine.
His father Dan said 48 rounds were fired and an empty ammunition clip was discovered at the scene.
“My only hope is that the magazine is not obliterated so police can lift fingerprints,” he said.
Dan said a security company vehicle drove past the suspects at the scene, opened fire at men armed with AK47s and wounded one of them.
“They shot Dustin at the back of his head and he died on the side of the street next to the curb. The suspects abandoned their vehicle at the crime scene,” said Nadine.
Dolphin Coast Taxi Association spokesperson, Sunshine Mthiyane, said this year alone four members of the association were killed and no arrests had been made.
“Police keep saying they are investigating while murderers are known but nothing is being done about it,” he said.
“Dustin’s murder is related to the ongoing taxi violence and he was silenced because he wanted to do the right thing, he was fighting for people to work freely and for them to be registered. In the taxi industry you die when you correct the wrong doings of the big fish.”
Kwanele Ncalane, spokesperson for the KZN Transport Department, said they were aware of Pillay’s killing and the new MEC Bheki Ntuli would be meeting the SA National Taxi Council to discuss all issues facing the industry.
“The MEC has expressed concern over the prevailing situation in this taxi association. He has vowed to find a long lasting solution to the ongoing killings. It is unacceptable and unnecessary. As government, we cannot sit and be comfortable while people are being killed, it is disappointing that after there was a team that was deployed to intervene in the area, still the killing is continuing.”
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said no arrests had been made.
Pillay was buried on Saturday.