Driver shot dead, three taxis gutted

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Another taxi driver was shot dead at the Warwick Junction taxi rank early yesterday morning as taxi-related killings continue to rise in KwaZulu-Natal.

In what is believed to be route-related feuding, an unknown gunman fired at the taxi driver while he was sitting in his taxi at about 5am.

Two taxis were also burnt at night while parked at a petrol station in Marianhill.

Another taxi was gutted while parked at the owner's house at KwaNdengezi, near Durban.

David Kwela, whose taxi was burnt at his home, said he was asleep when he heard neighbours screaming that his vehicle was on fire.

"There were two taxis in the yard. I think the culprits were disturbed by the neighbours before they could set the other taxi alight," said Kwela.

Kwela said his association has a dispute with the Zwelibomvu taxi association over routes and suspected that the incident was related to the feud.

Talks about who has the right to operate on the route are under way and until a resolution is found, both associations have been suspended.

Provincial department of transport spokesman, Nonkululeko Mbatha, said there has been ongoing violence between the Zwelibomvu and KwaNdengezi taxi associations since the end of last year, with the two associations embroiled in a dispute over routes.

"There are ongoing talks between the two associations and a resolution has not been reached. Both parties have been suspended from operating until a solution is found," said Mbatha.

She said a bus company contracted by the department of transport is operating in the area following the suspension of two associations.

"Since the suspension of taxis, the bus company has increased its capacity to cope with the work load," she said.

Police spokesman Daniela Veldhuizen confirmed the torching of three taxis.

She said one of the two taxis belonged to the KwaNdengezi taxi association.

"Three cases of arson are being investigated and no arrests have been made at this stage,' said Veldhuizen.

She said law enforcement has been intensified in the area to monitor the situation.