Shoot out kills three unionists

2014-08-08 00:00

POLICE are probing murder charges after three National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) shop stewards were killed in Isithebe on Wednesday.

Another member is in a critical condition at an unnamed hospital after gunmen opened fire at the home of another shop steward.

Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed yesterday the union members were attacked at about 8.30 pm in Mabhengwane Road in Chappies Section.

The motive was unknown. While details were sketchy, Numsa regional secretary Mbuso Ngubane said the incident happened after members returned from a union meeting in Durban.

“The union has been reliably informed ... An unidentified car arrived where the four Numsa members were and opened fire, mainly targeting the three,” he said.

He named the stewards as Numsa’s Isithebe local secretary Njabulo Ndebele, his deputy Sibonelo Ntuli and Ntobeko Maphumulo while the critically injured was named only as Ntshebentshebe.

Ntuli and Ndebele were meant to attend the union’s symposium in Gauteng relating to forming a labour party.

“Their contributions ... will be sorely missed,” Ngubane said.

He condemned the incident as “a well-calculated assassination” and expressed concern about the killing.

“Their untimely and senseless deaths rob the union three of its best and promising worker and trade union leaders.”

However, he called for calm to allow the police to investigate. While sending condolences to the families, Ngubane said Numsa would continue with their colleagues’ ideals.

“We know working-class people and Numsa activists will face similar incidents as we implement our December 2013 Special National Congress resolution to explore the establishment of an alternative Movement for Socialism,” he added.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was not shocked by news.

“Numsa has always been a target of the reactionary forces,” he said.

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