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