Durban - A MAN who blew the whistle on tender corruption at a KwaZulu-Natal municipality narrowly escaped an attempt on his life at the weekend.
Despite security assessments and the public protector stating months ago that Thabiso Zulu’s life was in danger, the police ministry is yet to provide him with protection.
Zulu said he felt let down by the state security cluster after sustaining two gunshot wounds in the weekend incident, which he is certain was a hit.
Zulu is one of the whistle-blowers in the tender corruption linked to the assassination of ANC PR councillor Sindiso Magaqa.
He was ambushed in Copesville, Pietermaritzburg on Saturday evening while visiting relatives with a friend.
“I know the hit was on me, I have no doubt about it. It was around 8 or 9pm when this car slowed down and suddenly a volley of bullets was fired at us.
“I have one small wound in the chest close to the left arm and a bigger wound in the same arm,” said Zulu, who is in hiding.
He said he believed there had been three gunmen, but had since been told by witnesses there were actually four.
Zulu had been warned about the attack. “On Friday an anonymous caller told me that I would be ambushed in three days, and that’s exactly what happened. Most painful is the failure of Minister (Bheki) Cele to provide me with security as per the recommendations of the public protector.
“I don’t know what he has against me,” he said.
Zulu, an ANC activist in the Harry Gwala region, testified at the Moerane Commission into political killings in the province.
Before the testimony, he and a fellow comrade, Les Stuta, shocked mourners at Magaqa’s funeral when they revealed that the councillor was killed for uncovering tender fraud relating to the building of a museum in uMzimkhulu.
Magaqa was shot dead in the area in 2017.
Since making these allegations, Zulu has been receiving death threats and had approached the police for help.
He was allegedly ignored by the police and eventually approached public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane for help.
In her report last year, Mkhwebane found that the police and Cele’s conduct in not providing Zulu with protection was improper, and recommended that he and Stuta be given state-funded protection.
Cele has taken the report on review.
The Daily News was reliably informed that President Cyril Ramaphosa, after hearing about Saturday’s incident, called Zulu to give him an assurance that the matter would be given “serious attention”. However, Khusela Diko, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, said: “We decline to comment on this matter.”
Police ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said: “I have to put it on record that the minister did not disregard the PP’s findings. He has taken the report on review. I’m trying to get information as to how far along this process of review is.”
Later Themba said the Police Ministry stood by its decision to review the Public Protector’s report, and added that the onus to provide witness protection to witnesses was on the Justice Department.