ADM whistle-blower mowed down in hailstorm of bullets

Simphiwe Mdingi.
Simphiwe Mdingi.

Amathole union leader and whistle-blower Simphiwe Mdingi died in a hail of bullets in the driveway of his Amalinda, East London, home on Wednesday night, the latest in a series of targeted hits on prominent municipal figures in the province.   

Mdingi was the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) leader in the  Amathole district municipality (ADM).

He was known for being outspoken on his views on employee suspensions and wage increases.

Police, who said  Mdingi, 38, was shot nine times as he was driving into his 78 Saxilby Road property at about 8.15pm, have refused to speculate on who might be behind the killing.

But a source within the municipality, who spoke to DispatchLIVE on condition of anonymity, said warnings had been made to Imatu unionists in recent weeks.  

“There’s been threats to two Imatu members who were told to back off by senior officials.

“They were shocked to receive these threats, but they were told to take it easy and not be vocal,” the source said.

The source could not say whether Mdingi had been warned. “But surely if his lieutenants were warned, he would know about it,” the source said.

Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha said he was “deeply concerned about the brutal killings of some workers”.

Nqatha’s spokesperson, Makhaya Komisa, said: “Cogta wishes to express its deepest concern about the trend of what appears to be assassinations in the province, particularly targeting officials working in the supply chain management unit in some of municipalities.

“The recent incidents are the cold-blooded killings of Thandile Mbono and Simphiwe Mdingi, who both died in hailstorms of bullets with clear intentions to eliminate them.”

Mbono, an assistant director in supply chain management at Mhlontlo municipality,  was shot dead last Friday.

According to Komisa, Mbono was killed by a  gunman while reversing his vehicle out of his garage. He was on his way to work.

Mdingi, who worked as a cash manager at ADM, was a known whistle-blower in the municipality.

In 2019, he revealed that colleague Petros Ntamnani had been suspended by the municipality after he spoke to the Dispatch.

Mdingi’s death came four months after Ntamnani, ADM’s acting supply chain manager, was lucky to escape with his own life after being shot at 11 times in Ginsberg.

Ntamnani was travelling with his wife and two daughters. His car was riddled with bullet holes.

It is believed that at the time of the attack Ntamnani was working with Cogta officials to probe tender fraud at the Chiselhurst municipality.

On Thursday, the Dispatch visited Mdingi’s home, where more than 30 people, including church leaders and ADM colleagues, had come to pay their respects.

Speaking to the Dispatch, Mdingi’s cousin, Mluleki Makibeni, said: “Simphiwe’s mother and his wife have asked me to convey a message that we will only speak to the media maybe after three days.

“This is a very difficult time. We are too distraught, and even now there are police officers inside the house taking statements.”

Eastern Cape provincial police spokesperson Brig Thembinkosi Kinana said Mdingi had been attacked “by unknown suspects”.

“According to the reports, the man, believed to be an employee of the Amathole district municipality, was shot in a hail of bullets in the driveway of his house and he died at the scene.

“The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation,” Kinana said.

“This office does not want to make any speculations regarding the incident. A murder has been registered for investigation and no arrests have been made at this stage.”

He said police requested anyone with information to contact their nearest police station or call the Crime Stop number 08600-10111.

ADM spokesperson Nonceba Madikizela-Vuso described the killing as brutal.

“His [Mdingi’s] untimely passing has left us in deep shock. ADM would like to convey sincere condolences to the family of Mr Mdingi and all those affected by this tragedy,” she said.

“We trust fully in the SA justice system that it will work tirelessly to bring to book those behind the brutal killing of our colleague.

“ADM executive management is visiting the family of the deceased.”


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