Man killed in EFF protest

2015-09-15 10:54
The Illovo Sugar mill near Dalton. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

The Illovo Sugar mill near Dalton. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Durban - An EFF member was shot and killed on Monday afternoon outside the Illovo sugar mill in Dalton following an illegal protest.

The protest was sparked by allegations made by the EFF that the mill had employed some of its employees on a “casual” basis for many years and had not made them permanent.

It is alleged that when the protesters reached one of the entrances to the mill, a member of Illovo’s security fired a shot into the crowd that hit and later killed a man.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese said the protesters were at the gate to one of the entrances chanting slogans when the incident occurred.

“The police were trying to calm the crowd and explain to them that they were partaking in an illegal strike when a gunshot was heard,” said Ngobese.

“A man was seen falling to the ground and it was alleged that a member of Illovo’s security had shot the EFF member from inside the property.

“The suspect was then seen getting into his car and driving through the property. The crowd then noticed one of their members had been shot and asked police to call an ambulance.”

Ngobese said the man was rushed to a nearby hospital in one of the protesters’ cars where he was pronounced dead later.

“The crowd got angry after the shooting and ran towards another entrance to look for the shooter.”

Ngobese said the crowd found the alleged shooter’s car and set it and an Illovo company car alight.

The suspected shooter was arrested and has been charged with murder.

A close friend of the man who was killed, Rosemary Kunene, said she could not understand why her friend was shot as they “were not fighting”.

“We were standing outside the gate, singing and dancing when a security guard pulled out his gun and just shot.

“My friend was standing right next to me. I heard the gun and he fell down.

“I thought he had fainted but then realised he had been shot,” said Kunene.

Umgungundlovu EFF head Dumisani Shelembe said the man was a true leader and fought for the rights of the employees with heart.

“It is a very big loss and words cannot express our sadness.”

He said they hoped the police would bring the alleged shooter to justice and that he would receive a life sentence.

Ngobese said a case of malicious damage to property had been opened against the protesters. “The police condemn such illegal gatherings and lawlessness will not be tolerated,” he said.

Illovo spokesperson Chris Fitz-Gerald said they were co-operating fully with investigators.

“While police investigations continue and facts are as yet unverified, it would be inappropriate for us to comment in any detail.

“The safety and security of our employees remains our paramount responsibility,” said Fitz-Gerald.

Read more on:    eff  |  durban  |  protests

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