It was like a scene from an action movie.
These were the words Pietermaritzburg Long Distance Taxi Association drivers used to describe the dramatic shooting that took place at their taxi rank on Friday morning.
A bystander and a female passenger died in the shooting, they told News24.
However, KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala could only confirm the death of the bystander.
She said he was in his 30s and that he had been shot in the head. He died at the scene.
One driver described the scene: "Bullets flew all over the rank like in an action movie. The shooters carried high-calibre rifles. They randomly opened fire while they walked towards their getaway car."
The driver said he hid underneath his Toyota Quantum during the shooting. He said one driver from the association had been shot and injured.
The rank is situated opposite the ML Sultan Secondary School in the Pietermaritzburg CBD.
"Another man, who is a hawker, was shot behind his thigh. About six of our taxis were hit by bullets during the shooting," he added.
He and fellow drivers accused a rival taxi association's security guards of attacking their rank.
"The security guards belong to the Howick Taxi Association. They want their taxis to operate from this rank, but they don't have a permit to do so," he alleged.
He said the shooting occurred at about 10:00, shortly after police had left the rank.
When News24 arrived at the scene, smoke was still emerging from a burnt bakkie.
"The bakkie belonged to the security guards. We don't know who burnt it," another driver said, adding that the guards operated like hitmen.
"When they realised that they couldn't get to the bakkie that had been set alight, they ran to another vehicle and got away," the driver added.
The driver said the rival association's taxis operated from Pietermaritzburg to areas such as Bergville and Greytown.
Several attempts have been made to contact representatives of the Howick Taxi Association but they were not immediately available for comment on the matter.
However, Gwala confirmed that a vehicle belonging to the security guards had been set alight.
"Charges of murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property are being investigated by Pietermarizburg police," she added.
No arrests have been made.