Rand Water CEO Sipho Mosai and the bulk water utility’s chairperson, Ramateu Monyokolo, escaped death by a whisker last week.
Because they were running late for an event where their colleague Teboho Joala and his bodyguard were shot dead in Zakariyya Park, south of Johannesburg, Mosai and Monyokolo have a story to tell.
On that fateful Monday morning last week, Rand Water’s chief executive in shared services Teboho Joala and his bodyguard were killed in a hail of bullets. They were shot at inside the Zakariyya Park community hall were they attending the back-to-school campaign event organised by their company and the City of Johannesburg.
Mosai and Monyokolo were also on the hit-list as the assassins were also waiting for them to arrive. However, the two Rand Water bosses, were invited by the minister of water and sanitation Senzo Mchunu for an urgent meeting, which made them not to make it to the Zakariyya Park event on that fateful day when their colleague was assassinated.
“I don’t want to talk about this right now. I am still mourning the death of my colleague,” Mosai said when Sunday World contacted him on Friday.
“I am not in the good space to talk about that incident,” he added as refused to say anything more about how he felt after escaping a possible assassination.
Caught on video camera
Sunday World has seen the video taken as Joala was being assassinated. The hitman entered the hall while the executive was still addressing the learners and parents.
The assassin is seen sitting down, waiting for Joala to finish his speech. He then calmly stood up, walked towards Joala and pumped eight bullets into his body. He also killed Joala’s bodyguard, before running out of the hall.
The sound of gunfire could be heard in the video, accompanied by the screams of terrified learners and parents.
High security lifestyle
Rand Water executives and senior managers are forced to have bodyguards as their security is compromised in a big way.
Prior to Joala’s assassination, the bulk water utility had already acquired services of VIP protection companies to guard its executives and plant managers.
Sunday World has established that business forums in different areas in Gauteng, mainly in the Vaal, have been demanding jobs in Rand Water’s operations. They want to get a lion’s share of pipe installation contracts and water purification plants. The water utility has many projects rolling out throughout Gauteng, parts of the Free State, North West and Mpumalanga.
The assassination of Joala emanated from many threats made to the bosses of Rand Water by the construction mafia in Gauteng. It is alleged that the executive was murdered for closing taps to many contractors.
The government also relied on the utility for intervention when there is water challenges in municipalities and provinces. This is according to insiders who are in the know within Rand Water.
Rand Water, which is the largest bulk water supplier in Africa, owns a bulk water supply worth billions of rands. It has large water treatment plants in Vereeniging and Zuikerbosch.
The company also has main booster stations at Zwartkopjes, Palmiet, Mapleton and Eikenhof. This includes 13 tertiary pumping stations and 60 strategically located service reservoirs. It also has secondary booster stations and a multi-billion-rand regional pipeline network of about 3 500km.
Rand Water officials who spoke to Sunday World this week revealed that many contractors were disgruntled. They were not happy with the utility’s executives and senior managers. The contractors accuse them of blocking them from getting tenders within the company.
“There are many projects that Rand Water rolls out and they are worth billions of rands. Due to these projects, it had appeared that [some] in the construction industry felt they were being sidelined on projects. [They] had decided to get hitmen to wipe off the executives and senior managers,” said an insider.
Another official said that Rand Water beefed up security for its executives and senior managers. These oversee its purification plants in Vereeniging and Zuikerbosch. The beefing up of security was after the bosses started receiving death threats last year.
“Executives and treatment plants managers started getting death threats, and this raised an alarm. The company notified the State Security Agency about the threats, and steps were taken to deal with the situation.
“Most of the executives had four bodyguards, while plant managers had three each. Joala was responsible for procurement. And one of the projects that was handled through his office was the Emfuleni waste treatment. That was given to Rand Water to manage.
“Many contractors in the area were not happy with him and other executives on how the contracts were awarded,” said an official.
It is understood that there were business forums that forced their way to sites to get projects. They decided to gang up against the executives due to the frustration of not getting jobs.
Lucrative bulk water pipeline system deals
“Rand Water has a massive bulk water pipeline system that connects the entire Gauteng and three other provinces. It supplies bulk water to mines, metros, and municipalities in projects worth billions of rands.
“There are also many projects that are carried out in water treatment plants. [Others are carried out] in booster stations and many reservoirs across Gauteng. Contractors who were frustrated that they were not getting jobs ended up joining construction mafias. [They] organised izinkabi (hitmen) to hunt and kill Rand Water bosses,” said our mole.
The official said that the bone of contention that had led to Joala’s murder emanated mainly from the Vaal region. Rand Water was responsible for the pumping of water from the Vaal River to its large treatment plants. This includes ownership and management of the bulk water pipeline network. The network runs throughout Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and the Free State.
“Joala had an influence on procurement, and many projects were dished out through his office. He was targeted for tenders, and the persons who killed him and his bodyguard were also going to shoot Mosai and Monyokolo. However, they heard about the shooting a few kilometres away from Zakariyya Park. They then hit the U-turn,” said an insider.
Joala’s other bodyguards and the City of Johannesburg chief whip Sithembiso Zungu were injured in the shooting. This according to the insider.