Two ambush-style shootings yesterday that caused the death of an Mthatha taxi owner and serious injury to an East London area driver sent shivers through the Eastern Cape taxi industry.
A five-month-old toddler missed being shot, while the child’s father, Zukisani Rhilityana, 42, died and his mother, Ntsaphokazi Ndimangele, injured when gunmen fired on the family as they approached the gate of their home at Marhambeni near Mthatha at 9pm on Monday.
The couple were shot in their upper bodies and rushed to Nelson Mandela Central hospital. Ndimangele was discharged yesterday.
A murder case was opened, said Mthatha police spokeswoman Captain Dineo Koena.
“Two empty cartridges from a pistol were picked up from the scene. No arrests have yet been made.”
She appealed to the public for information.
Rhilityana, from Ngcobo, was a member of Border Alliance Taxi Association (Bata) at Mthatha’s Mamela Taxi Rank.
Yesterday Bata executive members at the rank refused to give their names, but expressed shock.
“We are all confused and are still trying to gather facts We don’t even know whether his shooting was related to taxi violence. We don’t feel safe ourselves after this attack,” said a member. A meeting would be held at the rank today.
In the Kidds Beach area outside East London, Luzuko Lali, 35, was shot “several” times while driving in Good Hope village, (Village 9), on Monday night.
He was in a critical condition in an unnamed hospital, said East London police spokeswoman, Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala.
Lali drives on the Needs Camp to Kuni taxi route under the banner of the Mdantsane East London and District Taxi Association (Melta).
“No arrests have been made yet,” said Mqala, who refused to link the attack to taxi violence, “until our investigations prove so”.
SA National Taxi Council’s Eastern Cape leader, Noluntu Mahashe, called for a stop to the violence.
“We can’t live like this. Taxi violence was long gone. The last time we heard about this was a decade or two ago. Why now?” asked Mahashe.
Lali’s shooting comes days after taxi operator, Xolile Baliso, 44, was shot and killed outside his NU16 Mdantsane home on Wednesday.
Baliso’s killing was linked to ongoing taxi violence which has claimed more than 15 lives between East London and Mthatha.
The death toll in the region since May is believed to be 25. — firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com