Assassinated Rand Water exec Teboho Joala 'knew his time had come', says colleague

Rand Water executive Teboho Joala was murdered during an event to donate school uniforms and shoes at a school in Zakariyya Park, south of Joburg. File photo.
Rand Water executive Teboho Joala was murdered during an event to donate school uniforms and shoes at a school in Zakariyya Park, south of Joburg. File photo.

The gunman who killed Rand Water executive Teboho Joala in front of school pupils last Monday shot him in the head about eight times.  

This according to Johannesburg city council chief whip Sithembiso Zungu, who sat next to Joala when an assailant, disguised as  a community member attending a back-to-school event in Zakariyya Park Hall, south of Johannesburg, rushed the stage and killed Joala. 

Zungu sustained gunshot wounds to his knee and shoulder in the attack. One of Joala's protectors in a car outside the community hall was also killed.

Teboho was sitting in the middle and I was sitting on his left. As soon as I finished speaking, I wanted to hand over to Teboho to address the community, but I saw this guy approaching very close and he started shooting. He might have shot him eight times,” Zungu said in an interview on eNCA. 

Joala was uncomfortable with the event set-up and wanted to leave before it started, saying his life was in danger. Zungu, however, talked him out of leaving. 

“I said to him, 'Let us just start and I will open and hand over to you and then you leave after that'.”

Joala never got to speak to pupils as a man, seen in a video seated with children, went to the table and shot him several times.

“I got up and asked him [the gunman], 'Kwenzenjani [what is happening]?' From there he went for me. He wanted to shoot me in the head, but I ducked [and] he hit me in the shoulder. I remember children calling me, ‘Bab'uZungu, woza — come and hide here by us’.

Zungu believes his life was spared after the assassin's gun apparently ran out of bullets.

“When he wanted to shoot again, I think the gun had run out of bullets. That is when he turned and left.” 

In the interview, Zungu said Joala seemingly knew the killers were there for him. 

“I remember Teboho looking at this guy and then the next [moment] I see Teboho holding his head. He went like this [cupping his head in his hands] on the table and then he knew that the time had come,” said Zungu. 

Rand Water CEO Sipho Mosai, speaking at Joala's memorial service, pleaded for government protection.

“When we came to pay our respects, rakgadi [the aunt] said, 'Maybe if he did not join Rand Water, maybe he would not have died.' That touched my heart and broke me.” Mosai said.

“I wish I could ask the Lord to take me where ntate Joala is and shout, 'Teboho must come out!' I wish Jesus was here, so I can ask him to wake ntate Joala from the dead. But I do not have the privilege because Jesus is not here. I cannot go to him and say, 'Lord, if you had been here my brother would have not died'.

“We could have chosen to be business leaders and wealthy. We chose to serve our people, but we get killed like dogs. He left in the morning, looking good and going to serve his people, but he was killed like a dog. Mzansi, senzeni? [South Africa, what have we done?].

“Please, President [Cyril Ramaphosa], we are dying — protect us. We want to serve our people. Cabinet of South Africa, do something.”

Joala was buried on Sunday at Garsfontein cemetery in the east of Pretoria.


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