SAFTU shocked and outraged at assassination attempt on union leader

The South African Federation of Trade Unions is horrified at the attempted assassination of the Deputy President of the National Teachers Union, Allen Thompson. He was shot in the shoulder and is recuperating in Hospital. SAFTU wishes his a full recovery.

In a statement, NATU President, Siphosethu Ngcobo, said Thompson was shot in his vehicle near Umhlanga on Friday afternoon, 11 May 2018, while travelling from his offices in Empangeni to Durban.

He was ambushed by heavily armed men in a white BMW, who fired at him through the window, narrowly missing his head and injuring him in the shoulder. “After being shot Mr Thompson never surrendered but continued to drive his car as assassins were still on his back chasing him with the intention to find and kill him”.

Thompson was able to manoeuvre his car, at times into oncoming traffic and through red traffic lights, to get to the Netcare Umhlanga hospital. He parked at the front entrance and ran inside to get help and evade the gunmen.

“The unknown assailants, who wore balaclavas,” said Ncgobo, “went into the hospital, heavily armed to search for him and when they couldn’t find him they went back to his car that was parked at the hospital entrance. There was pandemonium as the heavily armed gunmen looted his car. They walked away with his documents, bag with undisclosed amount of money, two laptops and the bags that contained very critical information which is regarded as the master key to the imminent investigations regarding KZN department of education.”

Police spokesperson, Captain Nqobile Gwala, confirmed the incident, saying Thompson had been pursued by assailants who were heavily armed with pistols and rifles. She said police were investigating a case of robbery and attempted murder.

SAFTU demands that the SAPS and the Hawks must stop at nothing to catch the perpetrators, and those who planned and organised the assassination.

Ngcobo said it was clear that this was meant to be an assassination. “We have no doubt about that hits of such calibre are usually very well planned and organised. It was strange that the attackers had not taken Thompson’s wallet or car, as the keys were still in the ignition, but had made off with the laptops. We are hurt and disappointed, but this will not deter the union to continue uncovering corruption in the education department.”

“It is an open secret,” he said, “that we have been championing the call to place the KZN department of education under section 100, where the national department will take over the running of the provincial department.”

SAFTU agrees that it cannot possibly be a coincidence that this well-planned and ruthlessly executed assassination attempt on a trade union leader, in which the target was his laptops, was unconnected with his fight against corruption.

This attack follows other instances of attacks or robberies of trade union officials in which only lab-tops were stolen, and a series of politically connected murders in KZN. On the very same day that Thompson was ambushed, a prominent ANC activist and a municipal councillor from the Inkhata Freedom Party were gunned down in separate incidents.

It proves that there must be no let-up in the fight against corruption. Now that the NPA is finally starting to prosecute people who have been looting the state resources, others feel under threat and will stop at nothing, including murder, to destroy evidence and escape justice.

SAFTU also warns its own leaders, members and officials to be even more vigilant over their own, and their families’, security. We are facing a brutal enemy who will mercilessly target those in the unions and society who are the most committed to the fight against corruption.

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