The two brothers who stand accused of the murders. Percy Radzuma (left) and Simon Radzuma appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, 6 April.
The Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court was filled to capacity on Tuesday when two brothers appeared in connection with the murders of two SAMWU officials in January 2019.
The SAMWU members, Mr Ronald Mani (50) and the union’s former acting National President, Mr Timpson Musetsho (50), were killed early in 2019. Musetsho was shot while parking his motor vehicle in his garage at Makwarela Extension near Lufule village. He was admitted to hospital but died a few days later. On 30 January 2019, Ronald Mani was shot dead at the Singo Bottle Store in Itsani village.
The two union members were very outspoken against municipalities in the Vhembe District that had invested millions of rands of public funds in the now-liquidated VBS Mutual Bank.
Two brothers, Simon (26) and Percy Radzuma (33), were arrested the past week in connection with the murders. The two were also linked to several other murders and robberies that happened in the district over the past three years.
The other crimes that they are linked to include a murder and robbery at FNB Thohoyandou in 2018, two murders at Mandala village near Siloam in the Nzhelele area in 2019, a robbery and attempted murder at the Game Store in Thohoyandou in 2020, a house robbery at Muledane in 2020, a robbery at Sibasa in 2020, a robbery and kidnapping at Mukula village, the theft of a motor vehicle at Makwarela, a robbery and kidnapping at Tshilivhani, Phiphidi, a murder in Phiphidi plantation in 2020, the intimidation of staff at the Sibasa Aardvark Shop in 2021, a robbery and attempted murder in Giyani in March 2021 and two counts of possession of illegal firearms and ammunition at Rwanda village in Letsitele in March 2021.
“We want all people who are behind the killings of our comrades behind bars. We suspect that their killings were politically motivated,” said Mr Patrick Apane, Limpopo’s provincial secretary of SAMWU. Apane said that he and the organisation would be satisfied if the “big fish” who had hired the hitmen also faced the consequences.
Mr Calvin Tshamaano, the provincial chairperson of the Congress of South African Trade Unions in Limpopo, welcomed the arrest of the two suspects, but said that they wanted to see the national police service become more involved in the matter as they had lost their trust in the local police.
“We understand that the two accused were hired to kill our comrades, but we want those who paid for (the) hitmen to face the might of the law. We won’t rest until those involved as the masterminds behind the killing of our leaders rot in jail,” said Tshamaano.
Representing the two families (Mani and Musetsho), Mr Mashudu Mani said although they were heartbroken about the incident, they felt comfort and hoped justice would do its job and see to it that those found guilty served hefty sentences.
The two accused remain in custody and their cases were postponed to 30 April. They will then be joined by another accused of the murder, Thabo Sibanze, who was arrested in 2019.
Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the two accused had been arrested on Friday, 19 March, in Rwanda village in the Letsitele policing area outside Tzaneen for possession of unlicenced firearms and ammunition.
Date:09 April 2021 - By: Silas Nduvheni