Eleven people were killed and four others wounded in a night-time massacre on the R74 near Colenso in central KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday.

The ambush occurred when members of Ivory-Park Taxi Association were returning home after attending the funeral of a colleague in Ematimatolo. Four people were critically wounded when gunmen opened fire on the vehicle, allegedly with automatic weapons.

Transport Minister Blade Nzimande condemned the senseless killing while Parliament’s Police Portfolio Committee has warned that taxi violence has reached “crisis levels” in South Africa.

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman said the incident was “a further indication that violence in the taxi industry has now reached crisis levels in the country and a multi-sectoral intervention strategy must be implemented to effectively deal with this scourge.”

The committee welcomed a 72-hour deadline given by National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole to a team of investigators to trace and arrest the killers.