Durban – A VERULAM father who was gunned down in front of his son has been described as harmless.
Taxi boss Neil Jainarain, 46, was killed in a drive-by shooting on Wednesday while on his way to drop off his 8-year-old son Trishul and two other children at Crawford College North Coast.
Jainarain’s sister Sarika Jainarain said he was a caring brother, doting father and loving husband.
“He harmed no one. We are still in shock and have no words to describe how we feel. Neil had his whole life to live,” she said.
She said the family had been mourning the loss of Jainarain’s brother-in-law Ashlin Govender, who died 16 days earlier after contracting malaria.
Sarika said Jainarain, who was the chairperson of the Waterloo Taxi Association, was the backbone of their family.
“He was our world. We lost our mother last year and now Neil died, on her birthday.
“My dad died when I was 2-months-old and I looked at Neil as a father figure,” she said.
Sarika said her nephew Trishul was extremely traumatised. “Neil doted on his son.”
Jainarain was found in his bullet-riddled Toyota Fortuner on Vincent Dickerson Road in Verulam, having sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body.
It is alleged a red VW Polo opened fire at the driver before speeding off towards the Verulam CBD.
Prem Balram, director of private security company Reaction Unit South Africa, said security officials found three “hysterical” but unharmed children, aged 13, 11 and 8 about 40m away from where Jainarain was killed and about 21 9mm spent bullet cartridges.
Johnson Chetty, a Verulam councillor, said it was distressing to know that there were “callous cold-blooded killers” at large.
“Although there’s reasonable belief that this assassination was related to the strife in the taxi industry, I am grateful that the children were unharmed.
“We cannot allow our country to be held hostage by criminal elements. Violent crime appears to be spiralling out of control throughout the province,” said Chetty.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the circumstances surrounding the incident were unclear and that a case of murder was being investigated by Verulam SAPS.
Jainarain’s funeral took place on Friday at the Verulam Crematorium.