Numsa demands probe into members’ murders

2014-08-10 06:00

Leaders of metal workers’ union Numsa are demanding a high-level police investigation into the assassination of three of the union’s leaders in Isithebe on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

The three men – secretary Njabulo Ndebele, his deputy Sibonelo Ntuli and shop steward Ntobeko Maphumulo – were gunned down outside Maphumulo’s house on Wednesday after returning from a union meeting in Durban.

Numsa KwaZulu-Natal secretary Mbuso Ngubane said the union would approach police management to ask for a specialised unit from outside Isithebe to investigate the killings, which Numsa believed were politically motivated and linked to the formation of a rival union by Numsa members loyal to the current Cosatu leadership.

“The community has told us that there will not be a proper investigation if it is left to the local police, who have failed to stop taxi killings and other serious crimes in the area. We will meet police management and ask them to ensure that an outside team investigates,” Ngubane said.

Ngubane – who himself operates with armed bodyguards because of threats to his life – said that until an investigation proved otherwise, the union could only assume that the killings were linked to the breakaway and tensions related to the leadership battle within Cosatu.

“These comrades were ambushed, and the way in which they were killed makes it clear that this was a planned assassination. The killer targeted Ntobeko first as he knew he was the only one of these comrades who carried a firearm. He shot each of these comrades several times to make sure they were dead,” Ngubane said.

He said Numsa would meet with the dead men’s families to plan a joint funeral next weekend.

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