Play­ing dead saved my life

Taxi boss shot 29 times as he, wife and daugh­ter ar­rive home

Sowetan - - Front Page - By Per­tu­nia Mafok­wane

The wife of a Jo­han­nes­burg taxi boss who was killed in a hail of bul­lets had to fake her own death to save her­self.

John­son Mdaka, 63, chair­man of the Kemp­ton Park Taxi As­so­ci­a­tion (Keta), was shot 29 times in his home’s drive­way in Midrand on Tues­day in front of his wife and daugh­ter.

Mdaka’s wife Kele­bone, 55, who was also shot dur­ing the at­tack while seated in the back seat of her hus­band’s car, said she pre­tended to be dead.

“I didn’t see any­thing. I heard a crack­ing sound and I felt heat in my back and some­thing com­ing out of my armpit and then I bent down. I pre­tended like I was dead. They fired bul­lets until the gun was empty. His up­per body was rid­dled with bul­lets. You could just see the holes,” she said yes­ter­day.

The bul­let that hit Kele­bone’s back ex­ited through her armpit. She said when the gun­shots went silent, she tried to wake her hus­band up.

“I tried to wake him. I opened his mouth to help him breathe but he was gone. I have never seen a per­son killed in such a cruel man­ner. The word pain can­not de­scribe how I feel right now.”

Kele­bone said her hus­band was a peace­ful man.

Their daugh­ter Boitumelo Mdaka, 27, also watched in hor­ror as the brazen gun­men fired shots at her fa­ther.

They had just re­turned home from the mall when the in­ci­dent oc­curred at around 3.30pm. Boitumelo was sit­ting in the front seat next to her fa­ther who was driv­ing, while her mother sat in the back.

“He was happy that day. We had a nice lunch as a fam­ily be­fore we came home. I got out and opened the gate and the garage. I saw a man walk­ing up to the car hold­ing a gun as if he wanted to rob us. I raised my hands in sur­ren­der.

“He went straight to my fa­ther’s side and started to shoot. He fired shots con­tin­u­ously. An­other guy walked to the other side of the car and also started shoot­ing,” she said.

Boitumelo said the car moved into the yard and the gun­man on her fa­ther’s side fol­lowed it into the yard and shot two more shots.

“He wanted to make sure that he was dead. My fa­ther died a painful death and I was there to wit­ness it. I screamed and shouted but there was noth­ing I could do. It hap­pened so quickly,” she said.

Boitumelo said she hugged her fa­ther be­fore he took his last breath. “I could see that my fa­ther was hurt the most. I went to his door and tried to open it but it was locked.

“I then broke the win­dow to open [it]. I gave him a hug. He held my hand tight and then let go. I screamed and cried. I asked him to wake up but he did not say any­thing.”

Boitumelo said she lost her hero. “I am the last born and only daugh­ter, my fa­ther loved me so much. He would kill for me. I was his an­gel. He would al­ways come to my room and say ‘I love you’.”

The as­so­ci­a­tion said it lost a great man. Dis­ci­plinary chair­man Thu­lani Ngwenya said Mdaka was loved by peo­ple.

“Li­sis­hon­ele ilanga [we are shat­tered]. Only God knows why. He was a sweet per­son. You wouldn’t think that some­thing like this would hap­pen to him. He was a friendly per­son,” he said.

An­other dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee mem­ber, Sipho Mt­shali, said they were con­cerned about the killings of their mem­bers. An­other taxi owner, Ja­cob Thomas, was also killed on Tues­day.

“He was also killed as he drove home. We do not know what is go­ing on,” he said.

Mt­shali said the as­so­ci­a­tion had lost six mem­bers in the past six months.

Mdaka will be buried on Satur­day next week at Bun­geni vil­lage in Giyani.

Po­lice spokes­woman Con­sta­ble Pa­tri­cia Mgi­jima said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing two cases of mur­der and one of at­tempted mur­der in con­nec­tion with the two in­ci­dents.

Two gun­men opened fire on John­son Mdaka’s car as he arrived home with his wife and daugh­ter.

John­son Mdaka was shot and killed on Tues­day.

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