Rio Tinto's Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) in KwaZulu-Natal has confirmed that its general manager for operational services, Nico Swart, was shot dead on Monday morning.
While the RBM operation has seen incidents of violence in recent years, with the shooting of an employee halting operations in December 2019, this latest incident remains under investigation by police.
In a statement, RBM said Swart sustained injuries after a shooting incident while he was travelling to work and that police are investigating.
"The circumstances around the shooting are unknown at this stage and the incident is being investigated by the South African Police Services [SAPS]. The company is cooperating fully with the SAPS to support its investigation into this very serious matter," the statement said.
According to the Zululand Observer, 20 high-calibre bullets were sprayed into his vehicle shortly before 07:00, in the Richards Bay suburb of Meerensee.
Swart was 47 years old and served as a RBM employee for 14 years. He is survived by his wife and two children. The company expressed condolences to his friends, family and colleagues.