taxi drivers
FILE: Picture: Saps.

Gunmen have shot dead 11 taxi drivers returning to Johannesburg from the funeral of a colleague in Kwa-Zulu Natal, a police spokesman said on Sunday.

The Portfolio Committee on Police has joined in the wide criticism of the murder of 11 people in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.

It’s understood the victims were members of the Ivory Park Taxi Association in Gauteng and had been travelling from a colleague’s funeral when unknown criminals opened fire on their vehicle.

They were part of 17 people who were shot at leaving four in a critical condition.

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman said, “The safety strategy in the taxi industry is necessary in the context of a large number of people who depend on the service. Last night’s violent incident shows that measures need to be taken.”

The drivers were in a minibus driving along the R74 when unknown gunmen launched an ambush and opened fire.

“There was a shooting at about 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) last night. The vehicle was ambushed. There were 11 fatalities and four were seriously injured and are in hospital,” Kwa-Zulu Natal spokesman Jay Naicker said.

Minibus taxis are the most popular form of transport in South Africa and violence is common by rival groups vying for dominance on profitable routes.