An e-hailing driver escaped death by shooting two suspects who initially posed as passengers but turned out to be armed robbers.
The 51-year-old driver from the north of Durban asked not to be named due to ongoing police investigations.
He said he received a pick-up request on Sunday around 4am from Richard Winn Road in Wentworth, south of Durban. The destination was uMhlanga.
When he got there, he saw a teenage girl.
“The trip was via the app. The girl said the ride was for her and three others and that they were going to uMhlanga. She sat in the front. Three men jumped into the back.”
The driver said a few moments later, they cancelled the trip.
“They asked me to drive to the next road, which was Mia Avenue. As we got to the T-junction of Mia Avenue and Pascal Grove, they indicated that one of the guys needed to get off. I switched the car off for him to get off.”
The driver said he was then attacked. “Someone choked me while another tried to reach into my pockets. The girl in the front was busy going through the cubby trying to find valuables. I managed to break free and as I got out of the vehicle, the guy behind me also opened his door. I then heard someone say, ‘don’t move or we will shoot’. I saw a firearm being pointed at me. That is when I drew my firearm and fired a few shots at them.”
Two of the men were shot inside the car. The third man and the girl fled.
“They took my wallet, which had R600 and I had a packet of loose change of between R60 and R80. The coins were found in the possession of one of the deceased. One of them also stole the front face of my music car system. I don’t know why because it is useless to them.
“A few of their friends arrived and the scene was getting volatile. They were trying to threaten me and the people in the area who were assisting me to call emergency services and the police.
“I drove to the police station and the police escorted me to the hospital with the men still in my car. They were declared dead on arrival at the hospital.”
A few hours later, he returned to the area with a detective from the station.
“I managed to see the girl on the road and positively identified her. She was arrested. It was a traumatic ordeal. I am still a bit shaken but being an e-hailing driver, I have to be prepared. I was held up in October last year and my phones were taken.”
He said he became a driver five years after being retrenched as a diamond setter. He said e-hailing drivers should be wary of accepting trips with high prices and any request that included more than two people. “I accepted the trip because it was coming to R383 to go to uMhlanga from Wentworth.”
He said he had no choice but to continue working. “This is how I support my family. I just have to be more careful.”
Constable Thenjiswa Ngcobo, a provincial police spokesperson, said a case of armed robbery was being investigated by Wentworth SAPS.
“A 17-year-old minor was arrested on July 9 and was released under her parents’ custody. She appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.”