Mysterious death of a civil servant

2012-06-23 15:41

Internal auditor was found strangled in bed

Andile Matshaya lived for his work – but he may also have died because of it.

As an internal auditor in the national department of transport, he uncovered corruption and misuse of state funds.

The 49-year-old husband and father of one was found dead in his hotel room in Pietermaritzburg on May 25.

He and his colleagues were in KwaZulu-Natal for work.

A state pathologist ruled that he had been strangled the previous night. His family and colleagues believe the East London man’s murder was connected to his job.

In the weeks leading up to his death, one of his colleague’s cars was torched. Not much is known about his last hours alive.

His colleagues, fellow internal auditor Ayanda Ngqongqo and intern Mpho Sephogwane, were the last to see him alive at about 8pm on the night of his murder at the Stay Easy Hotel.

Some time between then and 9pm, he phoned his wife Nomfusi.

The next day his colleagues found him dead in his room.

In the days after his colleague’s death, Ngqongqo’s home was burgled. Matshaya’s work laptop, a camera used during his trip to Pietermaritzburg and a cellphone were stolen.

Ngqongqo had earlier been instructed to remove and keep the laptop with her by her head of department, Renade Makhado.

The page in Matshaya’s diary recording details of his last day alive was torn out, his brother Odwa told City Press.

“His death came as a huge loss for us, especially because he was so fit and healthy.

“Those who have done this will never know what they have done,” Odwa Matshaya said. “He always stood for what was right.

“They’ve robbed a wife of her husband, a young boy of a father, and we don’t have our brother any more.”
Matshaya was one of four sons.

Some of his colleagues in Pretoria told City Press Matshaya had confided in them about death threats he’d allegedly been receiving in the months leading up to his mysterious murder.

Another victim of threats is former transport forensic investigator Andile Mange, whose vehicle was torched on department premises late last year.

He had also been investigating graft in the department, and has since left to join the justice department.

“We are staying only because we have not secured other positions elsewhere,” another shaken auditor said.

“But the mood is one of fear. We are shaken, especially if you think that Mange’s car was also burnt,” the auditor said.

Matshaya’s boss, Renade Makhado, praised his work ethic, saying he was a valued part of the team.

Makhado confirmed the fear and insecurity among the eight staff members left in his department, but referred all other queries to department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso.

Rikhotso did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

Police in KwaZulu-Natal said they had opened an inquest into Matshaya’s death.

Matshaya and the rest of his team had visited transport department offices in the Northern Cape, North West, Free State and East London at the time of his death.

They were inspecting road construction projects at provincial and local government level, and were due to visit the country’s other provinces after they had completed their work in KwaZulu-Natal.

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