Union calls on Eskom to assist in Yende murder case

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JOHANNESBURG, June 25 – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Monday that they were concerned about the case of Thembisile Yende, an Eskom employee who was murdered last year, allegedly by her colleague because she was set to blow the whistle on a copper theft syndicate, and has called on Eskom to assist with surveillance footage.

“Numsa is calling on Eskom to assist the police with information and surveillance footage. According to the family, Eskom has not been helpful in providing all the footage which might shed light on Thembisile’s disappearance and murder,” Numsa said in a statement on Monday.

It is alleged that David Ngwenya, a technician at Eskom, killed her by suffocating her and left her body locked in the Eskom Pieterboth substation where she worked. Ngwenya is out on R15,000 bail and is expected back in the Springs Magistrates Court on June 28.

“The Yende family is worried that the only accused in the case will be set free because of a lack of evidence. Furthermore, it is alleged that the only key witness who can tie Ngwenya to the case has gone missing. According to the family, the witness was under Eskom’s care,” the union said. “The family also claims that crucial footage from surveillance cameras surrounding the sub-station has vanished.

“Numsa shares the concerns of the family. Thembisile Yende died whilst working for Eskom, her body was found in the workplace. It is virtually impossible for outsiders to access the sub-station on their own. Thembisile did not kill herself and lock herself in the office. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that those who killed her are employees of Eskom, or were assisted by employees at Eskom.”

The union said they were also calling on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) to demonstrate that they take gender-based violence seriously by prioritising investigations into the case.

“We demand that they treat this with the same care and attention as they did with the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. The NPA spared no expense in securing evidence to convict Pistorius for the brutal murder of Reeva Steenkamp. The nation’s best forensic and ballistic experts provided crucial evidence to secure a conviction. Numsa is demanding the same level of attention and resources to be directed to the murder case of Thembisile Yende. Failure to do this will prove what we have always suspected, which is that the legal system is designed to serve the interests of the wealthy elite white minority, and not geared towards serving the African working class majority.”

Numsa said they demanded justice for Yende, as she was a hard-working, ambitious young woman who was cut down in her prime.

“Her young son will have to live the rest of his life without the love and care of his mother. We will not rest until we know the facts about what happened to her. We will continue to support the family in their quest for the truth.”

– African News Agency (ANA)