Mr Tshililo Timpson Musetsho (left) and Mr Ronald Mani.(right).
Several senior members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) in the Vhembe District Municipality (VDM) have been in hiding, fearing for their lives after the recent assassination of several of their leaders.
The trade union’s Vhembe leader, Mr Tshililo Timpson Musetsho, who was seriously injured in a shooting incident a fortnight ago, later died in hospital. The provincial deputy secretary, Mr Ronald Mani was assassinated at Tshisahulu last Wednesday.
Mani and Musetsho were employed by the VDM in Thohoyandou and had addressed striking workers at the municipality and met with ANC Vhembe regional leaders before the latest shootings. They were reportedly in the forefront of fighting for the suspension and arrest of municipal officials and councillors involved in the VBS Mutual Bank saga.
A reports states that, a few hours before Mani was gunned down, he had spoken with the workers. He had apparently said that the workers would continue with the strike at VDM until two councillors implicated in the VBS scandal were removed from the municipal council. Workers said that those who spoke against corruption were being targeted.
In the meantime, the families of the two slain senior members said that members of the ANC Regional Executive Committee (REC) in the Vhembe region and some people implicated in the VBS saga would not be welcome at the funeral. Family spokesperson Mashudu Mani said the two deaths could have been avoided if the REC in the Vhembe region had listened to the demands of the union.
“We want to give him a dignified burial. There are those, he said before, that he does not want them during his funeral. That includes everyone involved in the VBS saga. Let us respect his wish, that is our plea,” he said.
Police spokesperson Motlafela Mojapelo said that they had immediately established a task team, led by the deputy provincial police commissioner in Limpopo, Maj-Gen Sam Manala.
The Cosatu provincial secretary in Limpopo, Mr Gerald Thwala, said that the trade union was confident that the recent intervention of the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele, would speed up the arrest of the assassins. “We don’t know who is next. The safety and security of our leaders is a priority,” he said. Cele visited two families last Saturday and has assured them that they would make an arrest in the shortest possible time and give updates on the police investigations. Cele says they would act harshly against any police officer who colluded with gangster groups that are terrorizing communities in the Vhembe region.
“The first intervention to make will be to arrest the criminals; that should happen in the shortest possible time. There are political matters that I will take to the political structures, but here we are here to deal with criminal activities,” Cele added.
A joint memorial service will be held today (Friday) at 10:00 at the Makhuvha Stadium, while a joint funeral will take place tomorrow at the same venue at 07:00.
Date:10 February 2019 - By: Kaizer Nengovhela
Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror more than a decade ago, in 2 000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.