Taxi boss says KZN hit 'could have been a mistake'

Ivory Park Taxi Association chairman Johannes Mkonza addresses the media following a taxi massacre where 11 people were killed.
Ivory Park Taxi Association chairman Johannes Mkonza addresses the media following a taxi massacre where 11 people were killed.
Image: THULANI MBELE

Ivory Park Taxi Association chairperson Johannes Mkonza says he is still confused about why drivers working for his members were massacred in KwaZulu-Natal.

"It has been a very difficult situation … People from all corners of Gauteng have been calling me since Sunday morning. These drivers did not even get permission from the office to go there‚" he told said on Monday.

A taxi ferrying drivers from a funeral in KwaZulu-Natal was ambushed by gunmen along the R74 road between Colenso and Weenen on Saturday night. Eleven people died when the vehicle was sprayed with bullets. Another died later in hospital. Mkonza said 10 of those killed were drivers from Ivory Park.

"The whole thing (trip to KZN) was never arranged through the office. Even the vehicle they were travelling in was not from Ivory Park‚ it belongs to our neighbouring association‚" he said.

"There is speculation that it could be a village thing ... We are not in any conflict. Not even a dot of it. Our association is operating in peace. We are not in conflict with any other association currently … We are not fighting with anyone. As to why our drivers were ambushed‚ we are trying to figure it out‚" said Mkonza.

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole activated specialised units to track down and arrest the gunmen‚ giving them a deadline of 72 hours to do so.

Mkonza said he was still asking himself why so many people could be killed for no reason.

"Our drivers are known as good drivers and well behaved. We are even thinking they were mistaken with another car in KZN that is in conflict there‚" he said.

Video footage has emerged of the taxi that was ambushed in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on July 21 2018. The taxi was on its way back to Johannesburg from the funeral of a colleague when it was attacked, leaving 11 people dead. It is believed that all passengers were in the taxi industry.

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