The Durban Police believe that an Imam, Haniff Pandor, whose car was raked with 23 bullets at a garage in KwaDukuza by hit men in a car, must have been mistaken for a taxi-gang boss.
Said a police source: “A taxi boss was killed at the same garage last week in what was believed to be a taxi-related shooting.
“The car, which had a GP registration, could have been mistaken for carrying hit men and been seen as a threat.
“There is some possibility the incidents were linked and we are exploring this.
“The taxi industry is so volatile and violent.”
Pandor, 50, who leads the congregation in prayer at the Stanger Jamia Musjid, agrees that a case of mistaken identity could have led to the drive-by shooting.
Pandor had taken his brother-in-law, Farouk Randera of Gauteng, to see a mechanic at a petrol station in Dawnside early last Sunday.
The two, seated in Randera’s Toyota Yaris, were both hit during the shooting.
Pandor had returned to KwaDukuza on Saturday from a holiday in Cape Town.
The mechanic’s workshop was closed, so Randera drove through the garage forecourt to make a U-turn to return home.
“I saw this bakkie drive close to us and then heard a loud bang. I thought a tyre had blown.
“Then I heard more bangs. I saw four men in the back of the bakkie, one of them had a big gun in his hand,” Pandor said.
A source who had been to the scene said the Yaris, which had tinted windows, was hit 23 times.
Pandor said most of the bullets hit below the door on the passenger side and went through the seats.
“Randera stopped the car in shock. I did not know we were shot. The bakkie stopped ahead and the men just stared at the car. I don’t know what was going through their minds.
“I got out and walked to the back of the car where I hid for a few minutes until the bakkie drove off. Randera hunched down behind the steering,” Pandor said.
“The car could have been misconstrued as a threat, leading to the shooting. This definitely could have been a case of mistaken identity,” the source said.
Randera, a father of four, was discharged from hospital last night. Two bullets struck him in the leg, one going clean through.
Pandor, a father of three, is in hospital under observation after a bullet went through the hip area and lodged near his stomach.
Speaking from his Stanger hospital bed, he said: “I can still walk. I am lucky the bullet struck a fleshy part.
“I thank God. I forgive my attackers for their ignorance. I am lucky I did not take the family along for a ride,” Pandor said.
A spokesman for the Stanger Jamia Musjid, who did not want to be named, said the shooting had left the congregation in shock.
“He is a prominent person in the area. He has been with the Musjid for more than 20 years. Both of them are parents,” he said.
Police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane, confirmed that a case of attempted murder was being investigated by KwaDukuza SAPS.
“The motive for the shooting is unknown at this stage. No arrests have been made.”