Task team established to hunt down killer of Limpopo Samwu leader

A man flies the Samwu flag during a protest in Johannesburg. (Cornel Van Heerden, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)
A man flies the Samwu flag during a protest in Johannesburg. (Cornel Van Heerden, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

A task team has been established to hunt down the killers of Limpopo South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) deputy secretary Ronald Mani.

Mani, 50, was shot dead in Tshisahulu village, near Thohoyandou, on Wednesday night.

According to police spokesperson Motlafela Mojapelo, the incident happened between 19:00 and 20:00 when an unknown assailant approached Mani and fired shots at him. The suspect then fled the scene.

"The provincial commissioner visited the scene last night and has already established a high level task team, led by deputy commissioner responsible for crime detection Major General Manala, to investigate this murder so that we can solve it within a very short space of time," he said. 

ALSO READ: Two business people found burnt to death in house in Limpopo

Mojapelo said the motive for the shooting was still unknown.

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha condemned the killing of Mani.

"[I] am satisfied with the briefing from the MEC responsible for Community Safety, Makoma Makhurupetje, who, with the provincial commissioner, has already dispatched a strong team to the area," he said in a statement on Thursday.

Mathabatha said Mani's death followed another shooting of a union leader in the same area last week.

He urged the community not to speculate and derail police investigations.

"Let's not take the law into our hands and allow the police space to unearth whatever circumstances behind this recent spate of shootings in that region," he said. 

Samwu said it was devastated by the news of Mani's death.

It said Mani was killed a few hours after he attended a general meeting at his workplace in the Vhembe District Municipality.

The union said it was convinced that the shooting was somehow related to that of Timson Tshililo, also an employee of the Vhembe District Municipality, who was shot a few days before.

The two had been in the forefront of protests which led to the removal of mayors who illegally invested money with the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank, the union said.

"No amount of violence will deter the union from exposing corruption at municipal level, corruption which had severely affected service delivery.

"Samwu lowers its banner in honour of Comrade Mani who has served municipal workers with dedication and diligence. We send our heartfelt condolences to the Mani family during this difficult time. We further wish Comrade TT speedy recovery," the union said in a statement.

Details of the funeral and memorial service will be communicated in due course.

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