WATCH | Welkom man gunned down in his car was gold mine's chief safety officer

12 November 2018 - 14:21
By Iavan Pijoos
A mine security officer has been shot dead in brazen daylight shooting.
Image: 123RF/ Dmytro Zinkevych A mine security officer has been shot dead in brazen daylight shooting.

The man who was brazenly gunned down in a parking lot in Welkom at the weekend was an employee of the Sibanye-Stillwater gold mining company.

"Yes‚ he was our employee‚" Sibanye mine's spokesperson‚ James Wellsted‚ told SowetanLIVE on Monday afternoon.

Wellsted said that 54-year-old Shai Mikia Mophapi was a chief safety officer at the Beatrix operation near the Free State towns of Welkom and Virginia.

Further information about Mophapi's employment at Sibanye-Stillwater was not immediately available.

Five bullets were fired at Mophapi while he was seated inside his car in the parking lot of the Commando shopping centre in Welkom around 5.30 Saturday evening.

Earlier on Monday morning‚ police spokesperson Capt Stephen Thakeng said a manhunt had been launched for the two assailants.

In a video being shared on social media‚ Mohapi is seen sitting in his blue Volkswagen Polo. Two men slowly approach his vehicle. One of the men pretends to be on the phone‚ while the second opens the door of the car and opens fire on Mohapi. The men then drag his lifeless body out of the car. They get into the car and drive off.

The car was later found abandoned next to Diggers Inn.

On November 7‚ the wife of a manager at Harmony gold mine in Welkom was abducted outside her workplace. The kidnappers demanded gold as ransom.

Free State police spokesperson Colonel Thandi Mbambo said on Friday that eight suspects had been arrested in Welkom and Odendaalsrus. An amount of R500‚000 in cash and 21 gold nuggets (approximately 7kg) were seized. Mbambo said police followed up on information which led them to Sebokeng‚ where an undisclosed amount of money was recovered.

Harmony spokesperson Sihle Maake said the woman was released unharmed.