taxi bosses SHOT dead at city rank

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Three taxi bosses were gunned down in cold blood at a Pietermaritzburg taxi rank yesterday.

Vumani Dlomo, 32, Lindela Dongo, 41, and Mgabe Gabela, 40, were sitting in a car when unknown men shot them in the head, chest and neck.

It is alleged that the taximen had no official permits to operate on the Pietermaritzburg Long Distance Taxi Association route.

Police said the motive appeared to be related to the taxi conflict.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Henry Budhram said an unknown number of people approached the vehicle on foot and opened fire.

"Police received a report of a shooting incident near the long distance taxi rank at the upper end of Church Street at about 6.05 in the morning.

"Two men died instantly and the third one died a short while later at the scene. Several spent cartridges were found on the scene," Budhram said.

He said the attackers fled in a get-away vehicle waiting on a side street.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said when paramedics arrived at the scene, they found a bullet-riddled vehicle with three men inside.

"Two men were declared dead. We started to treat the third man, who also later died due to the severity of his wounds," said Banks.

An eye-witness described the scene of the shooting as horrible.

"I was rushing for a taxi to work when I heard incessant gun shots.

"People dived for cover and others ran for their lives. It happened so fast," the worker said.

KwaZulu-Natal Taxi Alliance deputy president Brian Dlamini rejected police reports that the dead men were taxi owners.

"According to the report we got from members of the Pietermaritzburg Long Distance Taxi Association, the dead men were not members of the association. However, the loss of any life is unacceptable. When people have differences, they should resolve them peacefully," Dlamini said.