KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala has been blamed for the continuous killings of Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) staffers over the years.
This follows RBM’s general manager Nico Swart’s senseless killing in a hail of bullets on Monday morning.
“Central to these killings is the failure of the Provincial Premier Sihle Zikalala, to find a lasting solution that could have put an end to the killings of this nature,” the IFP said in a statement.
Zikalala has condemned Swart’s killing and called for calm: “We call for calm at RBM and among all those affected and impacted by this incident, and to allow the current process of discussion and negotiations facilitated by provincial government at RBM to proceed,” said Zikalala.
However, the IFP said 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”.
The party said that it was concerned about the growing “disturbing culture of violent and criminal activities being orchestrated to eliminate and intimidate leadership of RBM.”
“As a result, a local leader, 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.”
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It said that another RBM manager Ronny Nzimande, involved in investigating charges against senior staff at the company, was also murdered after he was ambushed by suspects with semi-automatic firearms. More than than twenty shots were fired 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.”
It said that there was a clear message that those responsible have a motive to render RBM “ungovernable by eliminating management so that criminals can rise to power and do as they please.”