S. African Labor Boss Killed in Possible Assassination Plot

A senior leader of South Africa’s main transport union was shot and killed on the same night that the home of the group’s president was bombed, according to union spokesman Vincent Masoga.

Chris Nkosi, general secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union in Gauteng province, was shot several times on a highway in Johannesburg late on Monday in what could have been an assassination, Masoga said by phone.

“His life had been under threat before and we invested in a bodyguard, but he was not with him at the time of the shooting,” Masoga said. “As a union, we are very heartsore and our members are very confused.”

Several hours after Nkosi’s shooting, the home of the union’s president, June Dube, was petrol-bombed in Vosloorus, a township located 42 kilometers (26 miles) east of Johannesburg. Dube and his family didn’t sustain any injuries and have reported the matter to the police, according to Masoga.

Tensions within Satawu’s parent body, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, have increased since the federation expelled the nation’s biggest labor group, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa. Satawu is one of the 13 Cosatu affiliates that didn’t oppose the removal of Numsa, while seven other labor groups did. Two weeks ago Cosatu expelled its former general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, citing gross misconduct.

Threatened Leaders

“We are perplexed by the matter and don’t understand why all this is happening,” Masoga said. “We believe some of the leadership’s lives are still under threat.”

Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim expressed concern over Nkosi’s violent death and the attack on Dube’s home.

“We are aware that there has been tension within Satawu but we would hope people do not resort to violence,” Jim told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday. “We are also aware that this could be used by reactionary forces to create falsehoods and lies about who is behind this.”

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