The Inkatha Freedom Party in KwaZulu-Natal condemns in the harshest terms the senseless assassination of Mr Nico Swart who was a General Manager of Operational Services at Richards Bay Minerals.
It is alleged that Mr. Swart was shot and killed on his way to work when more than twenty high-caliber bullets were sprayed into his vehicle on the corner of Dune Road and Kolstertkring in Meerensee just before 7am.
Indeed, it is with great sorrow and profound sense of loss that we learned of yet another act of barbarism and senseless killing in a hail of bullets of RBM management which has been made a norm over the past few years by criminal elements from within and around the city of Richard Bay.
Central to these killings is the failure of the Provincial Premier Mr Sihle Zikalala, to find a lasting solution that could have put an end to the killings of this nature. It is clear that his attempts to resolve conflicts which had forced RMB to close in 2019 did not yield necessary intervention and more should have been done to resolve the problems in that mine.
As a result, a local leader, Mr Meshack Mbuyazi, was shot dead 30 minutes after meeting with KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala in the KwaMbuyazi community at Richards Bay, where the RBM mine and smelter are located in an attempt to fix the issues.
In another case, a RBM manager involved in investigating charges against senior staff at the company, Ronny Nzimande, was also murdered after he was ambushed by suspects with semi-automatic firearms and shot more than twenty times at Nzimande’s BMW X5.
It was reported that there has been on-going conflict over job appointment processes in Richards Bay Minerals. A youth leader involved in a jobseekers’ committee, along with a relative of his, had been murdered in the town four weeks prior to Nzimande’s brutal killing.
We are concerned about what appears to be a growing disturbing culture of violent and criminal activities being orchestrated to eliminate and intimidate leadership of RBM. It is clear that there is a motive to render RBM ungovernable by eliminating management so that criminals can rise to power and do as they please.
We therefore call on law enforcement agencies to act swiftly and leave no stone unturned in timely unmasking the plot and the real motives behind this heinous acts of murder.
We also urge the communities to assist the police with any information they have on this matter.
Hon. M.B Gwala, MPL
IFP Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison in KwaZulu-Natal