Samwu Limpopo deputy secretary Ronald Mani shot dead

Police have set up a task team to probe the murder of Samwu deputy provincial secretary Ronald Mani.
Police have set up a task team to probe the murder of Samwu deputy provincial secretary Ronald Mani.
Image: 123RF/Arisha Singh

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) says it is devastated after the death of its Limpopo deputy secretary Ronald Mani, who was shot and killed at his home village of Tshisahulu outside  Thohoyandou on Wednesday.

Mani led the union in various capacities at local and regional levels  until his election as deputy secretary in 2016.

Samwu general secretary Simon Mathe said Mani was killed in cold blood just hours after attending a general meeting at his workplace at the Vhembe District Municipality offices in Thohoyandou.

"His shooting comes days after the attempted assassination of Timson "TT" Tshililo, also an employee of the Vhembe District Municipality and former Samwu Limpopo chairperson. Tshililo is currently recovering in hospital.

"We are definitely convinced that the two shootings are related as both victims are employees of the 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," Mathe said.

Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha said according to the police,  Mani was shot dead on Wednesday night at Tshisahulu.

"I am satisfied with the briefing from the MEC responsible for community safety, Makoma Makhurupetje, who together with the provincial police commissioner have already dispatched a strong team to the area. Let's not take the law into our hands … let's allow the police space to unearth whatever circumstances are behind this recent spate of shootings in that region,’’said Mathale.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said they have delegated a high-level task team to investigate the recent attacks on Samwu officials.

Mathe said the shootings are happening just as the union was preparing to intensify its campaign for more accountability and the removal of more people who were responsible for the illegal investments in VBS, which cost municipalities almost R1,5bn.

"Seemingly, VBS looters have unleashed their guns against unionists who have taken a firm stance against the illegal raiding of municipal coffers. This is now the fourth VBS-related shooting, with the first two targeted at Samwu Limpopo secretary Patrick Aphane and councillor Maupa from Tubatse local municipality late last year."

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