Thursday 2023-02-09

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HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER SHOT DEAD

By SIBONISO NKAMBULE | 2023-01-23

Human rights lawyer and Chairman of the Multi Stakeholder Forum (MSF) Thulani Maseko was shot dead while at his parental home at kaLuhleko (Bhunya) on Saturday night.

According to his family, Maseko was shot three times through a window, in the head and chest while watching television in his rest room.
He was shot in front of his wife and children.

 The incident, which left the kaLuhleko community gripped by terror, happened at around 9pm as the Maseko family had returned from their travelling. According to a family member who did not want his identity revealed, the gunman shot Maseko through an open window while his children were playing with a cellphone in the same rest room.

He said Maseko’s wife was busy with house chores when she allegedly saw the man pointing a gun through the window.

The family member said the wife tried to alert Maseko that there was someone at the window pointing a gun towards him but it was too late as the man pulled the trigger.

“He was shot in the head and chest, leaving a gaping hole on the chest,” the source said.
He said Maseko’s wife tried to chase after the shooter but her quest was cut short after the shooter spotted her.

The relative further stated that the shooter disappeared in the fields as neighbours who responded swiftly did not see him on the stretch of the road leading to Maseko’s homestead.
He stated that as a family they were left with many unanswered questions as Maseko was a humble man who was loved by the community.

Homestead
Narrating the events before Maseko was shot, the relative said he saw a car on the stretch of the road leading to his homestead and that it stopped at a distance and a man alighted and walked towards Maseko’s homestead.

He said the vehicle then drove back to the main road.
“I paid attention as I thought he was coming to my homestead but instead he passed through, heading towards Maseko’s place. The dogs started barking as he was walking by but I did not think he posed any danger,” the relative stated.

He said after a few minutes, he heard gunshots and people shouting for help.
He said he called his children to ask them about the noise as they had a separate room, only to find that it came from Maseko’s homestead.

Adding, the relative said he rushed to Maseko’s homestead to investigate what was happening and was told that Maseko had been shot through an open window and that the suspect disappeared into the fields after committing the act.

He said they called the police who took long to respond.  
When asked about who they suspected as a family, he said they did not know if Maseko had enemies or not but the truth was that the country had changed and innocent people were being killed.

He said they do not want to put the blame on anyone as Maseko was a friend of the community and the country at large.
He stated that it could happen that the shooter had crossed paths with Maseko and knew his daily routine.

He further said only people close to Maseko knew where he slept, as they had another house they did not sleep in, which was situated a few metres from his parental home.
According to the source, Maseko’s wife told them that he had earlier mentioned that some people had waged a war against him.

He said Maseko treated everyone  equally including the police with whom they discussed a number of issues.  Chief Police Information and Communications Officer (PICO) Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed that a man was shot several times while at his home at KaLuhleko area.

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