By Sidima Mfeku
“Let’s put our weapons down” – Those were the words uttered and directed to SMME owners by the Nelson Mandela Bay’s Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, outside City hall in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
“Let’s come down, let’s put our weapons down, let there be peace amongst ourselves” the mayor begged of the SMME owners to have each other’s backs following the tragic death of Black Business Caucus leader Baba Ningi on Monday.
Ningi died of numerous gun shots after an argument just outside Lifa and Mafa Butchery in Koyana Street Zwide. The 48-year old’s death has not been formally linked to anything as it stands, but people suspect that it might be related to a project that is believed to have earned Ningi Millions of rands which belonged to SMME owners.
“We don’t know the motive for the killing of our brothers, we can hear others saying they are suspecting the drains but the police have not yet come with a report to us”, Bobani said.
The mayor disregarded allegations that the drain cleaning project that was awarded to SMME’s in December last year might have been the cause for the death of Baba Ningi and his colleague Nkululeko Gcakasi who was gunned down six hours after Ningi’s death at Tshiwula street in New Brighton.
The mayor stimulated that this incident is not going to hold the government back from awarding SMMEs businesses, He said “We as the government we are unapologetic for giving you the drain project”.
The bereaved crowd shed tears as the Mayor spoke fondly of Baba Ningi, his principle and work ethic. Bobani said the support the colleagues have shown is proof that they appreciated Ningi’s work and that “the blood of Baba Ningi will nourish the business community and SMMEs to grow”.