Durban - KwaZulu-Natal-based National Teachers' Union (Natu) deputy president Allen Thompson is recovering at the uMhlanga Hospital in Durban after surviving an attack by heavily armed men, the union said on Saturday.
Natu said the attack was an assassination attempt. After the shooting, the perpetrators stole documents pertaining to an “imminent forensic investigation regarding the KwaZulu-Natal education department”, the 40-thousand member union said in a statement.
The attack took place on Friday in uMhlanga while Thompson was en-route from Natu’s Empangeni head office to Durban.
“It happened very quickly in the middle of the road while cars were waiting for the green robot as they were off-ramping the N2 highway to join the M41 to the uMhlanga and La Lucia route,” Natu president Siphosethu Ngcobo said in the statement.
Thompson was shot through the driver’s front window and hit in the shoulder. Although wounded, Thompson made his way through traffic and stopped at the uMhlanga Hospital’s main entrance and ran inside.
“After being shot Mr Thompson never surrendered but continued to drive his car as assassins were still on his back, chasing him with an intention to find and kill him,” said Ngcobo.
The balaclava-clad assailants entered the hospital to search for Thompson and returned to his car when their search proved fruitless. They then proceeded to “loot” Thompson’s car, Ngcobo said.
“They walked away with his documents, bag with an undisclosed amount of money, two laptops, and bags that contained very critical information which is regarded as the master key to the imminent forensic investigations regarding the KZN department of education,” said Ngcobo.
He told African News Agency (ANA) on Saturday morning that some of the cash was Thompson’s private money while the rest was for official use. “We have now contracted a private security company for Mr Thompson and myself,” said Ngcobo.
While neither he nor Thompson had received death threats, they had received “warnings”. “We have been getting warnings from politicians in KwaZulu-Natal that we must be careful because we are dealing with ‘sensitive’ matters when uncovering corruption within the education department.”
“It is an open secret that we have been championing the call to place the KZN department of education under section 100, where the national department will take over the running of the provincial department. We will continue calling for investigations and we want the police to leave no stone unturned in this matter. We have liaised with the police and the union will definitely look into the issue of security,” said Ngcobo.
Police confirmed the shooting and said they were investigating, but no arrests had been made.
African News Agency/ANA