By Nqobile Tshili
A LONG-TIME friend to South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman, Bheki Ndlovu (44) who was recently slain in that country, yesterday recounted how the tycoon was shot dead by a lone gunman in his presence in what he suspects was a targeted killing.
Ndlovu (44) was killed on December 14 and is expected to be buried at his rural home in Tsholotsho today.
Mr Allan Chigome who is also in the cross-border transportation sector, said he was with Ndlovu during the last minutes of his life.
He narrated what he described as a split- second, heart-wrenching moment that he has agonised over and replayed countless times in his mind.
Mr Chigome said he ducked for cover and raised his head to find Ndlovu dead. He then heard a squeal of tyres as the assassin sped off.
“He was my long-time friend I can’t even remember when we first met. On the day of his fatal shooting, his driver was readying to leave for Zimbabwe. Bheki loaded his vehicle at Ezinjeni, a popular pick up point. He instructed the driver to proceed to the filling station to fill up his tank as he was following behind to make the payment. This was a normal routine for us,” said Mr Chigome.
“It was just the two of us in his car. As we arrived at the service station his driver was still parked at the serving point. We were exchanging general banter as we disembarked from the car. I remember he had bought a few things and instructed me to put them in the driver’s seat.”
In a split second as he moved across the vehicle, I heard gunshots. I scurried for cover and when I was confident that I was safe I was gutted to discover Bheki had been shot dead.”
He said in his view, Ndlovu was targeted during the attack.
“That’s the only thing that makes sense. Why him alone if it was random. No one else was shot. So, I’m clearly convinced that his killer had a specific assignment, just to end his life.
“When we inquired about who had done it, witnesses said they just saw him jumping into a vehicle and speeding off. No one knows who he was,” he said.
Mr Chigome said prior to the shooting Ndlovu was relaxed and appeared not to have a care in the world.
He described him as a very humble individual who assisted a lot of people.
“His death has left me really shocked. I was forced to come back home earlier than scheduled. I was also fearing for my life. It’s not easy to just see someone you had been together with for the better part of the day being shot dead point blank just before your eyes,” he said.
“At that moment I really felt it could have been me also. He was such a humble person, assisting a lot of people who would be facing challenges. He was in the transport sector for a very long time and some people would negotiate that he ferries them even when they were broke, and he would gladly do so. So, I don’t know who would want to kill him.”
Mr Chigome declined to be photographed saying he also feared for his safety. Several conflicting claims have been made following Ndlovu’s death.
Ndlovu’s family have partly blamed his wife Mrs Nomazwe Ndlovu for his death claiming that she issued threatening messages to him a week before he was shot dead.
Social media has been awash with claims that Ndlovu was killed while on his way to Zimbabwe to divorce his wife of 25 years for having an affair with a married UK based man, Jabulani also known as Christopher Tshabalala.
The family is in possession of 66 videos of Mrs Ndlovu with her lover, including sex tapes.
Mrs Ndlovu last week admitted having the side fling but said her hands were clean while accusing her in laws of wanting to grab the couple’s properties.
Mr Tshabalala’s wife who declined to have her first name mentioned said she got hold of his phone when he was very drunk on the night of Bheki’s murder, and saw the lovers’ WhatsApp chats and a suspicious secret payment of $15 000 to be made in South Africa.
“I reported the matter to the police and forwarded messages to my relatives and Bheki’s relatives when I realised that something could be happening. My husband then wanted to harm me and I was put under police protection.
“He was called in for questioning by Brighton police here in the U.K He is my husband but if he has a hand in the death of an innocent man, then justice must prevail and he must face the music,” said Mrs Tshabalala. The Chronicle