The South African Federation of Trade Unions is horrified and disgusted at the report of a tow-truck owner in Mariannhill, Durban, who allegedly poured petrol over two of his employees and then set it alight, after he interrogated them about a missing gearbox.
Mxolisi Mkhize and Moses Magama, who were employed to clean vehicles, were taken to hospital for medical attention. Mkhize was pronounced dead upon arrival, and Sele Magama, passed away two days later.
The accused employer has been arrested and is in custody at Mariannhill police station. He has been charged with two counts of murder and was due to appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court last Thursday.
It is utterly outrageous that workers, should be subjected to such cruel assaults, which led to what must have been a slow and agonizing death. As a local resident said:
“We are still shocked by this as there is a video showing one of the deceased in a critical state in hospital. I have never witnessed something so cruel, I could not even finish watching this video,” The resident added that the men were beaten up badly before being set alight.
SAFTU demands that the SAPS and the courts take the speediest possible action to prosecute and punish the culprit, who, if found guilty, must be given the harshest possible sentence and ordered to pay compensation to the workers’ families, in order to send warning to all employers that workers’ lives are sacrosanct and crimes like this will not be tolerated.
An incident like this shows how crucial it is for vulnerable workers like these two be recruited into trade unions and get organized so that this kind of violent abuse by employers can be stopped and offenders punished.
The federation calls on all its members in KZN to demonstrate in force when the case come to court to show their anger and determination to prevent any more such atrocities.