21 January 2019

Lesotho: Nthane Victim's Family Speaks Out

The family of the slain Nthane Brothers company driver, Kopang Mohapi, have rejected the company's version of events surrounding his death last Thursday at the hands of his boss, business tycoon Tšeliso Nthane.

They family insists that his killing was premediated and not accidental as claimed by company representatives who visited them last week.

Mr Nthane is now on bail for shooting and killing his 51-year-old truck driver, Kopang Mohapi of Qacha's Nek. This after Mr Mohapi had been involved in a road accident at the Moteng Pass, about 171 kilometres from Maseru, while transporting construction machinery to Polihali in Mokhotlong were Mr Nthane is running a lucrative roads construction project awarded by the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).

Mr Mohapi's truck overturned, throwing off various construction machinery which blocked the road, making it impassable to other vehicles. Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said upon learning of the accident, Mr Nthane and some of his employees drove from Maseru to the accident scene to assist in removing the machinery from the road and transporting it to Polihali.

Police reports indicate that at the accident scene, Mr Nthane took Mr Mohapi aside to talk when a gun was fired and Mr Mohapi dropped to the ground.

Mr Mohapi was rushed to Buthe-Buthe government hospital where he was confirmed dead.

A week after the tragic incident, the Mohapi family is still struggling to come to terms with his death. Family spokesperson, Rethabile Mohapi, who is a brother to the deceased, said the Nthane Brothers company gave them an unsatisfactory explanation of the events that led to his shooting last week.

"They (the Nthane company) came to us three days after the incident. Still they did not tell us the true story of what transpired between Ntate Nthane and my brother," Mr Rethabile said.

"They sold us the shoddy, unsatisfactory story of how the gun dropped from Ntate Nthane's hands and went off, shooting my brother. Even a crazy man will not believe that story.

"There is a reason why Ntate Nthane shot and killed my brother. We want that story, the true story not what they are telling us. My brother was killed while on duty and in the presence of some of the employees. Someone knows what happened. Someone knows why Ntate Nthane killed my brother and they choose to hide the truth. My brother worked for their company for 10 years and they owe it to him to tell us the truth about what led to his death.

He said the family believed that Mr Nthane intended to kill Mr Mohapi when he travelled to the accident scene.

"The accident happened on Wednesday and Ntate Nthane and his people went to the scene on Thursday. He knew what he was going to find at the scene. He was not caught off-guard and he cannot be excused for snapping. He pre-planned the murder," Mr Mohapi said.

Efforts to obtain comment from the Nthane Brothers company proved futile as an employee who answered the telephone said it was not "possible at the moment" to speak on the issue.

Mr Nthane faces murder charges in connection with Mr Mohapi's death and he has since been granted M5000 bail.

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