School­boy felled in cross­fire

Two gunned down in al­leged Mead­ow­lands taxi stand-off


ASCHOOLBOY was killed by a se­ries of stray bul­lets sus­pected to have been fired by un­known gun­men tar­get­ing taxi op­er­a­tors in Soweto on Sun­day evening.

A taxi owner was also killed when gun­men opened fire on him in Mead­ow­lands.

The school­boy, be­lieved to be about 16 years old, was mak­ing his way home when he was caught up in the deadly shoot­ing.

Po­lice spokesper­son Cap­tain Phile­mon Khorombi said many rounds were fired and the teenager was hit sev­eral times in the cross­fire, re­sult­ing in him dy­ing on the spot.

The 36-year-old taxi owner was gunned down just me­tres away from his home.

Wit­nesses said he ran into a neigh­bour’s house be­fore be­ing felled by a fusil­lade of bul­lets.

The shoot­ing, which took place at about 7pm, was re­ported to the po­lice by a mem­ber of the com­mu­nity.

Gaut­eng po­lice spokesper­son Lieu­tenant Kay Makhubele said the rea­son for the shoot­ing was not known and that the gun­men had not been ar­rested.

“A mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been launched,” he said.

The shootout is al­leged to be in con­nec­tion with a se­ries of vi­o­lent taxi con­flicts over routes in Mead­ow­lands.

Bafana Ma­gag­ula, the chief strate­gic man­ager of the South African Na­tional Taxi Coun­cil (San­taco), said the coun­cil was not as­so­ci­ated with these re­cent con­flicts and was op­posed to vi­o­lence.

“We con­demn any killing of taxi driv­ers, taxi own­ers or any­one else. If we could end it, we would end it,” he said.

San­taco plans to in­tro­duce new sys­tems, such as the in­stal­la­tion of cam­eras in­side and out­side ve­hi­cles, to help erad­i­cate such con­flicts.

Ma­gag­ula said the taxi in­dus­try’s rep­u­ta­tion was harmed by shootouts and called on the po­lice to find the per­pe­tra­tors.

“I feel ter­ri­ble for the fam­i­lies that lost their loved ones and I would also like to apol­o­gise to the pub­lic as they are also im­mensely af­fected,” he said.

Se­nior re­searcher in the Crime and Jus­tice Pro­gramme at the In­sti­tute for Se­cu­rity Stud­ies, Dr Jo­han Burger, said taxi vi­o­lence was rife and that crimes of this na­ture were not un­usual.

“Taxi vi­o­lence is wide­spread and this is not the first time this is hap­pen­ing,” he said.

Burger added that there needed to be a long-term so­lu­tion to taxi vi­o­lence.

There has also been a call to the pub­lic to as­sist the po­lice in finding the per­pe­tra­tors.

“We’re ap­peal­ing to ev­ery­one or any per­son with in­for­ma­tion with re­gard to these mur­ders. Any in­for­ma­tion could help us ar­rest these vi­cious but un­known sus­pects,” said Khorombi.

The taxi owner was shot close to his home

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