Allen Thompson, the deputy president of KwaZulu-Natal based National Teachers’ Union (Natu), said on Thursday he received a death threat since surviving an alleged foiled assassination attempt last month.
Speaking to African News Agency (ANA), Thompson said the threat was made via telephone and had been reported to police. “One threat has been made against my life since the attack,” he said.
The union contracted private security for Thompson on the night of the foiled attack. It has since also solicited private investigators to assist with the case.
“We still believe this was an aborted assassination attempt, and are waiting for a few more puzzle pieces to be linked,” said Thompson. “We are waiting on the police to give us more information after their investigation. We want them to investigate across the board, but to know our suspicions [that this was an attempted hit].”
Thompson said he was told that his case had been escalated to the police’s provincial task team.
The alleged hit took place on Friday, May 11, when Thompson was travelling to Durban from Natu’s Empangeni-based head office. Heavily armed men ambushed him while he was taking the N2 off-ramp to join the M41 uMhlanga and La Lucia route.
Thompson was shot through the driver’s front window and struck in the shoulder. He managed to drive himself to uMhlanga Hospital while being followed by his attackers. Once at the hospital, he ran inside the main entrance.
The balaclava-clad men pursued him into the hospital, and when they could not find him, proceeded to loot his car, taking documents described by the union as relating to an “imminent forensic investigation regarding the KwaZulu-Natal education department”. They also stole an undisclosed amount of cash and two laptops.
Natu has been calling for the KwaZulu-Natal department of education to be placed under section 100, meaning the national department would take over its administration.
One of the issues being tackled by the union is R40 million spent by the department on sanitary towels for public schools. The union claims the sanitary towels – piling up in schools due to a massive oversupply – are not even certified by SABS.
Natu has also called for further investigations into the province’s multimillion-rand school nutrition programme, which it says is riddled with “irregularities”.
At a prayer day in late May, the union said the country’s education department was “about to reach a state of unrestrained political corruption”.
“At our last meeting with the provincial education department, we made it clear to them that our members were convinced that they had something to do with the attempt on my life. [The department] rejected the allegation and said it would be cleared of any wrongdoing during the police investigation,” Thompson told ANA.
According to the police’s KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson colonel Thembeka Mbhele: “No arrest has been made at this stage. Durban North police are still investigating the matter.”