Failed hit on whistleblower

2019-10-28 16:34
Thabiso Zulu, a long-time political friend of Magaqa and whistleblower survived an assisination attempt on Saturday. PHOTO:

Thabiso Zulu, a long-time political friend of Magaqa and whistleblower survived an assisination attempt on Saturday. PHOTO:

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After years of pleading unsuccessfully with the state to investigate threats on his life, local anti-corruption activist Thabiso Zulu escaped an assassination attempt when he came face-to-face with a hitman’s barrel on Saturday evening.

Zulu and one of his friends, who is not named to protect his identity, were accosted by four gunmen and had to flee on foot when they opened fire at them in Copesville in Pietermaritzburg. The friend escaped unharmed but Zulu sustained gunshot wounds to his chest and left arm.

Speaking to The Witness on Sunday, he said he was still in severe pain and couldn’t move his arm.

“I had to discharge myself from hospital because I was scared they were going to come back to finish the job because they seemed pretty determined to get rid of me.”

He said the ringleader of the group kept calling out to his colleagues telling them to focus on him (Zulu) and make sure they did not make any mistake.

“Whoever sent them must have given a clear instruction on who to eliminate but mercy was on my side because somehow I managed to run all the way to the bottom of the hill and hid in a trench.

“As I lay there, I thought this was the day I was going to meet my maker because I could hear them getting closer but by that time my body was numb so I couldn’t move.”

Asked what was going through his mind that particular moment, he said: “I’ve always known that such day would come and I’ve even made peace with it because in every struggle there will always be casualties and you’ve written about my friends and comrades who have been killed for blowing a lid on corruption.

“I know that one day it will be my turn and there is nothing I can do to change that.”

Zulu is a witness in the murder case of former ANCYL deputy secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, who died in a hail of bullets in Umzimkhulu in 2017.

After Magaqa’s assassination Zulu went before the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into political violence in KwaZulu-Natal, and gave evidence about corruption in the Umzimkhulu Municipality, which he said was the reason Magaqa had been killed.

He also used the platform to plead with the state security agency to do a threat analysis on his life and provide him with protection, but that never materialised.

“I knew there were plots to kill me and I have recordings which I’ve given to the agency, but they never did anything. I’m doing all I can to help the government fight corruption but obviously my life is not worth protecting even though there are three reports re-commending that I be given protection,” he said on Sunday.

Since Magaqa’s death, Zulu has been living in different parts of the province, which he hoped would confuse those sent to kill him. He said sometimes cars have tailed him but he managed to lose them.

On who could have wanted him killed, he said he did not know and that was why he had to go into hiding immediately after leaving hospital.

“It could be anyone, really. The police will do their investigation but I’m not going to take any chances with my life because the person who orchestrated the hit could just send a different team to finish me off.”

Read more on:    crime  |  pietermaritzburg  |  political killings

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