Taxi violence sprouts up outside Ladysmith and in Newcastle

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The Provincial Taxi Task Team is investigating the murder of a taxi owner gunned down in Ezakheni, outside of Ladysmith, on 7 September 2021.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala explains that the 35-year-old victim, Khumbulani Mazibuko, was killed after being caught in a hail of bullets while exiting his vehicle. The other occupants in the vehicle were not injured.

While still alive at the scene, Captain Gwala says, “Mazibuko was transported to hospital, where he later died. One of the suspects was struck by the deceased’s vehicle and his rifle fell on the bonnet of the vehicle.”

A rifle with two magazines carrying 52 rounds of ammunition was recovered at the scene by police.

One suspect is now in police custody. The 38-year-old man will be appearing in the Ezakheni Magistrates’ Court on 29 September 2021, facing charges of murder and attempted murder.

Captain Gwala explains, “His arrest follows a multi-disciplinary operation that was conducted by the Provincial Organised Crime Unit, assisted by Crime Intelligence, and the Ulundi Public Order Police on 26 September 2021.”

Following up on intelligence about a wanted murder suspect, the team tracked the alleged hitman down and arrested him at the East Mine area in Vryheid.

Moreover, this is not the first incident of taxi violence in recent days.

On 17 September 2021, the Newcastillian – Online News reported how Newcastle SAPS closed down a section of Allen Street after a conflict between taxi operators erupted outside the police station.

Click here to read more.

At the time, it was reported that the situation unfolded after a taxi driver was shot earlier that day at the Newcastle taxi rank. This resulted in angry taxi operators vandalising one taxi and assaulting its driver outside the station.

Elaborating on the matter, Newcastle Police spokesperson Lizzy Arumugam explains that the taxi owners and taxi drivers were having disputes over the long-distance routes. “During the confrontation, one of the bodyguards drew a firearm. A tussle ensued between the bodyguard and a taxi driver, and two shots were fired in the process, injuring the taxi driver below his abdomen.” He was then taken to Madadeni Provincial Hospital for treatment.

Following the shooting, Arumugam stresses that the bodyguards and the taxi owner drove to the SAPS to report the shooting. It is then, Arumugam says they were followed by a group of taxi drivers, who attacked the shooter while he was entering the station. 

Arumugam says, “He was severely assaulted with bricks and sticks. The taxi was parked on Allen Street, where it was damaged by a group of taxi drivers who were at the station.”

A case of Attempted Murder, Malicious Damage to Property, and Assault GBH is being investigated by Newcastle Detectives. Police investigations continue.

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