Threat­ened CFO shot dead

Af­ter death threats, Simo Mncwabe re­signed a day be­fore shoot­ing

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - SABELO NSELE and AMIL UMRAW • amil.umraw@wit­ness.co.za

MPOFANA Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer re­ceived death threats, caus­ing him to hastily va­cate his top-ranked po­si­tion — a day be­fore he was mur­dered.

Sources in the Mooi River-based mu­nic­i­pal­ity as well as mem­bers of 39-year-old Simo Mncwabe’s fam­ily yes­ter­day re­vealed that he had re­signed as the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer amid threats to his life.

Mncwabe died yes­ter­day in a hail of gun­fire a kilo­me­tre away from his home in Hen­ley near Eden­dale while tak­ing his two chil­dren to school.

The chil­dren es­caped the at­tack with mi­nor in­juries.

Sources said the grave threats, which his fam­ily and col­leagues were yes­ter­day hes­i­tant to dis­cuss, forced Mncwabe to re­sign — Tues­day was his last day at work.

At about 6.30 am yes­ter­day, Mncwabe was am­bushed by an un­known man who po­lice said was wear­ing “dark clothes and a black hat”.

It is be­lieved the gun­man, who hid in an aban­doned road­side plot, shot at Mncwabe with a high-pow­ered as­sault ri­fle, rid­dling his posh BMW SUV with more than a dozen bul­lets.

It is be­lieved Mncwabe tried to speed off but when he came around a bend a few me­tres away, lost con­trol and crashed into a brick wall.

It was then that the gun­man al­legedly ap­proached the ve­hi­cle and shot Mncwabe at close range.

Kwa-Zulu-Na­tal po­lice spokesper­son Lieu­tenant-Colonel Shooz Magud­ulela said Mncwabe was found with mul­ti­ple gun­shot wounds on the chest and arm, but his chil­dren es­caped with mi­nor in­juries.

Mncwabe’s brother, Jab­u­lani, told The Wit­ness yes­ter­day that he could not think of a rea­son why some­one would want to kill his brother.

“He [Mncwabe] was a hum­ble guy. As far as I know, he did not have any en­e­mies. But those who killed him knew what they were do­ing,” Jab­u­lani said.

Sibu Mkhize, Mncwabe’s child­hood friend, said Mncwabe was re­cently mar­ried and that his chil­dren are “still quite young”.

“When­ever his wife drives past here, she will be re­minded of the bru­tal mur­der. His chil­dren are too young to have wit­nessed this,” Mkhize said, point­ing to the wreck­age, as Mncwabe’s fam­ily and friends wept in­con­solably at the scene of the mur­der.

Late last year, the Mpofana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity came out of ad­min­is­tra­tion af­ter its coun­cil was dis­solved in 2014.

It was then that Mncwabe was ap­pointed, and in a state­ment to The Wit­ness at the time, he had said he came into a mu­nic­i­pal­ity that was “on its knees”.

Mpofana Demo­cratic Al­liance coun­cil­lor Nh­lalayenza Ndlovu said the party knew about the threats Mncwabe re­ceived.

“Even when Mncwabe re­signed, we tried to con­vince him to stay, but we let it go be­cause we knew his life was at stake. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity still needed him. He was one of the best-per­form­ing CFOs,” Ndlovu said.

Mpofana Mayor Mau­reen Magubane de­scribed Mncwabe as a “good CFO” who got things done even though he was short-staffed. Clearly shaken, Magubane said she sent her con­do­lences to the fam­ily.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, MEC for Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube called on law en­force­ment agencies to “in­ves­ti­gate this in­ci­dent speed­ily and bring to book those re­spon­si­ble for it”.

“We have con­sis­tently con­demned vi­o­lence which oc­curs spo­rad­i­cally in the prov­ince’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, but which tends to flare up in the run-up to elec­tions as is the case now when the 2016 lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions are only three months away,” Dube-Ncube said.

PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

The scene of the shoot­ing where Mpofana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Simo Mncwabe was gunned down af­ter leav­ing his home near Hen­ley Dam yes­ter­day.

The bul­let-rid­dled ve­hi­cle. Sev­eral shots pierced the back win­dow. Mncwabe’s chil­dren were in the car.

PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT (FILE)

Mpofana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Simo Mncwabe.

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