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.