The SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) is concerned that union members who have taken a firm stance against the illegal raiding of coffers at Vhembe district municipality are being targeted for assassination.
The union said on Thursday that it was devastated to learn that its Limpopo deputy provincial secretary, Roland Mani, had been shot and killed in Thohoyandou.
“Comrade Mani was killed in cold blood [on Wednesday] just hours after attending a general meeting at his workplace, the Vhembe district municipality,” the union said in a statement.
“His shooting comes just days after yet another attempted assassination of Timson Tshililo (TT), also an employee of the Vhembe district municipality and former Samwu Limpopo chair. TT is currently recovering in hospital.
“We are definitely convinced that the two shootings are related as both victims are employees of the Vhembe district municipality and have been in the forefront of protests which led to the removal of mayors who illegally invested money with the now-liquidated VBS Mutual Bank.”
Samwu said the shootings took place as the union was preparing to intensify a campaign for more accountability and the removal of more people involved in the illegal investments that cost municipalities more than R1bn.
“Seemingly VBS looters have unleashed their guns against unionists who have taken a firm stance against the illegal raiding of municipal coffers.
“This now becomes the fourth VBS-related shooting with the first targeted at Samwu Limpopo provincial secretary Patrick Aphane with the first casualty being councillor Maupa from Tubatse local municipality late last year.”
Police have assembled a task team to investigate the death of Mani.
“No amount of violence will deter the union from exposing corruption at municipal level, corruption which had severely affected service delivery,” said the union.
Cosatu in Limpopo said earlier, after the shooting of TT: “Our suspicion is that there is a well-organised and funded campaign by political hyenas … who are hell-bent on silencing any voice speaking against corruption and looting in our province.”