Riddles of the Cosatu blast

A strange car parked at the corner of Nugget and Jeppe Streets, a torch light on the fifth floor and the arrival of the police on the scene allegedly almost immediately after yesterday’s bomb blast at Cosatu House has added to the mystery of the incident.

A security guard at the building, Stanley Khumalo, yesterday said he heard a loud bang before the building was filled with smoke. He ran towards the main gate. There was a second blast. He claims that as he stumbled out of the door he met three policemen who were running up the stairs at the entrance. He alleges that one of them shouted that they shouldn’t run in as there might be other bombs in the building.

A man who works at a building at the corner of Nugget and End Streets said he saw an unoccupied white car parked at the corner. Minutes after the blast he saw men running towards the car, jumping in and driving off at high speed.

Phumlani Mdletshe, a National Union of Mineworkers member, was sleeping on the tenth floor when he was woken by one of his colleagues. He ventured to the window. There was a huge blast and he ran down the staircase. On reaching the first floor he realised it had caved in. ”I ran to the back of the building and went down the fire escape before scaling over the razor wire security fence at the back into the open courtyard in Kerk Street,” he said.

He said that as he reached the open lot at the back of the building a group of policemen shouted at him to stop and instructed him to sit down. He was joined by some of the colleagues who followed his escape route. It was Mdletshe’s second narrow escape.

On Tuesday he had just left the NUM offices at the Vryheid Coronation Colliery when a colleague of his was killed by heavily-armed men whom they claim to have clearly identified as being well-known members of the United Workers Union of South Africa. ”I had just left the offices to go to the labour control office on the mine when a secretary from our offices rushed in and told me to hide as the Uwusa people had killed one of our organisers, Bhekuyise Ntshangase.” He was saved by the arrival of mine security men and the personnel manager.

”I know the killers and can definitely identify them as Uwusa members because they have been recruiting on the mines and some of them are actually working on the mine.” He said he had come to Johannesburg to report the killing of his colleague when he was trapped in the blast.

The SAP directorate of public relations yesterday said they were unable to comment on the details of the bomb blast.


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Sefako Nyaka
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