A 13-year-old schoolboy has been shot dead during a taxi shootout in Zwelibomvu in KwaNdengezi, west of Durban, police said on Thursday.
The boy, who was standing nearby, was hit by a stray bullet during an exchange of gunfire between four unknown gunmen and security guards attached to the Zwelibomvu taxi association on Wednesday.
"The schoolboy was shot in the face and he died instantly," said Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane.
Two others wounded
Zwane said two other people were also shot and wounded.
"It is believed that they were part of the groups that were fighting," he said.
A case of murder and two counts of attempted murder had been opened at the KwaNdengezi police station, said Zwane.
"No arrest has been made," he said.
In a statement, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison said the four men had been targeting members of the Zwelibomvu taxi association.
The department said the shootout intensified after a taxi operator, who is a member of the executive of the taxi association, was shot and injured by the four gunmen.
The security guards then retaliated.
Probing the matter
"The attackers ran away and a high-level team of police detectives has been assembled to investigate the matter," said the statement.
MEC Mxolisi Kaunda expressed disgust over the killing of the boy, "whose identity is being withheld".
He said the impact of taxi violence was now ravaging the society.
"We find it very painful that a family has lost their innocent child, because of taxi violence. This does not only inflict pain on the family, but it also destroys the fabric of society and the future of our nation.
"The suspect, who fired shots at the young boy must face the full might of the law. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the... family who have lost their son. As government, we will not rest until there is stability in the province," said Kaunda.
Kaunda condemned the ongoing killings in the taxi industry, adding that joint efforts were needed to work for stability in the industry.