Taxi owner on shooting spree

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A passenger was shot three times yesterday morning while other commuters ducked flying bullets at a taxi rank in Verulam.

A gun-toting taxi owner in KwaZulu-Natal was trying to shoot one of his drivers but missed and shot the passenger three times .

The passenger, Samuel Bheki Mthiyane, 42, survived. He was shot as he was leaving the taxi from Ndwedwe.

Police have launched a manhunt to find the taxi owner who is a member of the Ndwedwe Taxi Association. The incident happened at about 7am.

Police spokesman Mandla Khumalo said the taxi owner had had an argument with his driver in the morning and started shooting at him.

"We don't know how he missed him," he said.

The driver must have ducked and Mthiyane was hit three times, once in the chest, in the side, and in the arm.

"We are not sure how he survived but we are grateful he made it," said Khumalo.

He said Mthiyane was taken to a local hospital where he is reported to be in a stable condition.

Khumalo said that once they catch the suspect they will make sure that he does not carry a firearm for the rest of his life.

"The fact that he was shooting while passengers were still inside the taxi, and that he missed his target three times at close range, shows that he is not trained to use a weapon and we will make sure he does not carry one again," said Khumalo.

Chairman of Zamukulungisa Taxi Association, which Ndwedwe falls under, Robert Hlela, condemned the incident.

"We are dead against the use of weapons and no matter how much the two differed, there was no need for the owner to shoot at his driver.

"We will sit down with both the driver and the owner and if we are not satisfied with their explanations we might end up cancelling their membership for good because we don't need people like them in our business," said Hlela.