...By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
A 32-year-old taxi owner was killed in a drive-by shooting in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal, while his neighbour suffered only minor injuries.
The incident took place on Saturday, with the taxi owner and his neighbour in a car at an intersection on Jabu Ngcobo Road, opposite Trenance Park Phase 1 in Verulam.
According to police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda, a Toyota Etios reportedly pulled up next to their vehicle, and one suspect alighted and fired several shots at the victims using a rifle.
Upon their arrival at the scene, private security company Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) found the bullet-riddled body of the taxi owner lying next to an Isuzu bakkie.
The taxi boss attempted to flee on foot but collapsed due to the extent of his injuries.
His passenger sustained minor injuries.
The deceased was confirmed to be a taxi boss who operated in Mawothi, according to Rusa spokesperson Prem Balram.
The police have opened a case of murder and attempted murder, and investigations are underway.
The motive for the shooting is unknown, although taxi-related violence cannot be ruled out.
A total of 21 spent rifle cartridges and three live rounds of ammunition were recovered at the scene.
The suspects reportedly fled in an unknown direction.
The incident is yet another example of the ongoing violence that plagues the taxi industry in South Africa.
Taxi-related violence has been a persistent problem in the country for years, with rival taxi associations often competing for routes and passengers.
The situation is worsened by the involvement of organised crime syndicates that use the taxi industry for illegal activities such as drug trafficking and money laundering.
The South African government has attempted to address the issue by introducing legislation aimed at regulating the industry, but progress has been slow.
The situation is made worse by the lack of effective policing and the prevalence of illegal firearms in the country.
Until these underlying issues are addressed, it is unlikely that the violence in the taxi industry will abate.
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