eThekwini metro offers guards for staff after spate of murders

When an eThekwini metro employee received a message on the phone warning him to be careful because his movements were being monitored, he knew it was not just threats.

The senior employee, who is attached to the metro’s water and sanitation unit, told Sunday World this week that the message, written in isiZulu, read: “Nina nivimbe nezinto zethu, qaphela lapho ohamba khona sikubhekile [You people are blocking our things, be careful we’re constantly watching your movements].”

The threat followed a spate of murders bedeviling the department, with allegations rife that the killings are well-orchestrated by disgruntled contractors who want a piece of the pie in the department’s lucrative tenders.

The water and sanitation unit is one of the departments in the eThekwini metro with a massive budget allocation.

The latest victim of the killings was Emmanuel Ntuli, who was killed inside his home in Mandeni near Stanger, north coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

Ntuli was the acting senior manager for plants and logistics in the water and sanitation unit.

Subject is sensitive

Before Ntuli’s murder, another high-ranking official, Khumbulani Khumalo, was accosted and shot dead inside his vehicle in Inanda in the south of Durban.

Responding to questions from Sunday World, eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said the subject is sensitive and has a possibility of jeopardising police investigations.

“We do not want to speculate as to what could be the motive for the killings,” said Kaunda.

“But it does worry us as the city that we’re losing many employees in that unit. We are providing security to those whose lives are under threats.”

He said the metro has requested from Police Minister Bheki Cele that the investigations be accelerated and that they should be handed over to police’s specialised units.

The only metro in the province also announced that the State Security Agency has also handed over a report about the culprits orchestrating water sabotage by tampering with water infrastructure.

The alleged sabotage has left scores of communities in Durban without water.

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