Separate drive-by attacks leave one dead, five injured

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

A taxi owner was killed and five people were injured in two separate drive-by shootings in the early hours of yesterday morning in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg.

The first shooting took place at the main Diepsloot taxi rank, where one person died and another was injured. The other attack in Extension 5 has left four people critically injured.

William "Trofolo" Selepe, 37, was shot dead and eyewitnesses said he had just arrived at the taxi rank when the shooting started.

Phindile Shabangu, a municipal advisor in Diepsloot, said a private car drove into the rank and the occupants opened fire.

Shabangu could not identify the car but said the shootings might have been related to a feud between taxi associations.

Peter Dube, Diepsloot safety and security spokesman, said the feud started in 1997 when the government advised two rival groups, the Diepsloot Taxi Association and the Bryanston Taxi Association to form one organisation. The two groups then amalgamated about a year later.

The main reason for the amalgamation was because they shared the same route.

"It's never been the same since then. Some members of the Diepsloot Taxi Association were boastful and didn't want to work together with the Bryanston Taxi Association and formed their own group called Diepnooit.

"Things went bad after that. The other members joined the Bryanston association, which became the Randburg United Long Distance Taxi Association [Ruldta]," Dube said.

He told Sowetan that the last shooting at the taxi rank took place a year ago. A female passenger was killed.

In 2004 the Gauteng Transport Department banned the Diepnooit Taxi Association from operating in Diepsloot but it defied the order.

Dube said that yesterday's shooting was the first this year and he could not confirm that the violence was related to the feud.

The sister of William Selepe, Francinah, said that she was deeply hurt by the killing of her brother.

"I have just lost my brother and it is not easy for me."

Selepe was the father of a one-year-old boy. He had been in the taxi business for more than 10 years and owned a taxi of which he was also the driver.

Ruldta spokesman Wadson Nahwasane said he did not know who shot at the minibus taxis and could not conclude that the Diepnooit Taxi Association was responsible for the shootings.