Slain KZN bus driver to be buried today

By Janine Moodley Time of article published Nov 14, 2019

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Durban - MOMENTS after seeing his son’s body, slumped over the steering wheel of their family-owned bus, a Verulam father held on to his family for support as he wept.

Darren Gounden, 30, of Tongaat, was shot three times in the head by a passenger on Tuesday.

The motive for the shooting is not yet known.

Gounden's funeral is expected to take place on Friday. 

According to the bus conductor, who declined to be named, the morning started off like any other.

At some point, in Verulam, a man jumped aboard when they stopped near a service station.

“There were four other passengers in the bus, including two aunties. When we reached Buffelsdraai Road, the man wanted to jump off.

“I moved aside, so he could get out. But when he reached the door, he pulled out a gun and shot Darren. The bus was still moving. I feared for my life and jumped out.”

The conductor said the bus rolled down the road before it stopped.

He returned to the scene when the police arrived.

Family, friends and onlookers gathered at the crime scene, which the police had cordoned off.

When the mortuary van arrived to pick up Gounden’s body, his father was overcome with grief and held on to members of his family for support.

Gounden’s younger brother, Sirshan, 27, said his father blamed himself for what happened.

“I don’t know why, but he does,” said Sirshan.

“Darren knew the transport business was dangerous but he loved being a bus driver.”

Sirshan said his sibling would have turned 31 next month.

He began driving the grey Little Gossip Siza Baba bus after he got his driver’s licence, about 10 years ago.

The family started the transport business 25 years ago. They own three buses.

“I did not want to drive buses because I knew how territorial people could get. I instead opened a bar.

"Now that Darren is gone, I don’t have an option. I have to take over the family business.”

He described his brother as a go-getter.

Sirshan said finding the killer meant little.

“It will not bring my brother back,” he said.

A North Coast bus owner, who was at the scene, believed the killing was related to clashes between bus owners and taxi owners, over the routes.

“We are threatened every other day but what do we do? Do we stop working and stop earning a living? Then how will we survive? How do we feed our families? We keep to our routes. All we want is to be left alone.”

Gounden’s friend, Rajiv Roopnand, said Gounden lived for the moment.

“And when he was not working, he loved to party. He also loved dressing up.

"Whenever we went out, his dressing was on point and his clothing had to match.”

One of his regular passengers said: “I’m shocked. He was so young. What is this world coming to?”

Prem Balram, of Reaction Unit South Africa, said the suspect was believed to have got into a waiting white VW Polo.

He said three spent 9mm cartridges were found in the bus.

Police spokesperson, Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case of murder was opened.


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