Lucky Sifundza report concludes; he was killed
SIMUNYE – The late Lucky Sifundza possibly died due to murder rather than an industrial accident.
Preliminary conclusions made by an eight-member task team that was mandated to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death are that, "There was a heavy cover up of the evidence or his death was not an industrial accident, but possibly even murder."
Of note is that the committee looked at mill trends for mill start-up and water usage and discovered that there had been a lot of water used immediately after the mill start-up which they said was unusual and that the start-up time was quicker than normal and took only two minutes for all six mills to run. A report in the possession of the Swazi News reveals that there is no information that Sifundza, who died in May this year, was seen going out of the factory premises.
"From all the interviews so far, Lucky has been described as an employee who never left his workstation without informing another to look after it, a straight person, who did not drink alcohol or smoke, having normal mood on the day he disappeared and without known social and personal problems," reads the report.
From this, the general assumption made by the team is that Sifundza may have died inside the factory, something they said was confirmed by the DNA test of the tissues that were found in the boilers.
The report states that the mill procedure was not followed, in that the mill controller left his post unattended to assist the turbine attendant. "It is not likely that Lucky would have gone into the inter carrier without notifying anyone considering that the employees said he was afraid of getting into the inter carriers. Lucky was also safety conscious on the lockout procedure as per his safety talk done early this year."
The report further highlights factual and material contradictions in some of the accounts given by key people on the mill platform on the day of the incident. "This appears to be deliberate and misleading, that is; *senior officer x said he was on the mill panels during the start-up while three employees on the platform said he left soon after the starting of the number six mill; *senior officer y’s statement to plant engineer was that he started all the mills yet he started only mill number six as per his statement to the task team; *senior officer x’s thinking is not in line with his action as he believed that Lucky may have been taken by the inter carrier yet he did not stop the mill or tell that information to the manager on duty and the factory manager."
On the question on why the mill was not stopped after it was suspected that an employee had been taken by the inter-carrier, the report states that one of the responsible officers said he had difficulty to do so because there were no indications such as blood to suggest that the employee could have been in the inter-carrier.
Assessments and views of the committee are that Lucky disappeared after the start-up and that something unusual must have happened on the start-up because the correct operational procedure was not followed.
"From the interviews, there are some inconsistencies and leads that suggest that some of his workmates are not truthful." The task team was led by Bheki Maziya, the Human Resources Manager and about 25 employees were interviewed, including the five people who it was said should have seen Sifundza when he was on the platform on the day of the incident.
*The officers were named by positions in the report but the Swazi News deliberately withheld their identities.
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