A PROMINENT Maphisa businessman was early yesterday morning shot dead in his home at the growth point in Matabeleland South.

Tapson Ncube, who had business interests in mining, transport, retail and also sponsored Division One soccer outfit The Venue, died on the spot following a shootout with unknown gunmen.

His killers took nothing from the house and left Ncube’s terrified wife cowering in a bathroom as they melted into the night.

Ncube contested in the Zanu-PF primary elections for the Matobo North Constituency ahead of last year’s harmonised polls and lost to incumbent Edgar Moyo.

The shooting incident occurred yesterday at about 4AM and his killers allegedly poisoned his dogs before breaking into his house through a window.

Sources said Ncube anticipated the attack as he allegedly told his wife to hide in the bathroom before his attackers sprayed their bedroom with bullets.

Ncube’s wife escaped unhurt but is said to have been severely traumatised.

When The Chronicle visited the family’s residence yesterday, none of the relatives wanted to open up on what could have led to the businessman’s death.

They said they were still waiting for detectives from Gwanda to conduct investigations.

At about 5PM, one of the relatives said: “We were not there so we really don’t know what happened. What we know is that he was shot dead when unknown individuals raided his home this morning. His wife is the only one who could shed light on what transpired but she is not in a position to speak.

“They poisoned his dogs first before cutting a burglar bar leading into the lounge,” said a relative who identified himself as Mr Mkhumbulo Ncube.

“No one saw the attackers. His wife was in the bathroom. That’s how she escaped. We don’t know the reasons behind the fatal shooting. We don’t know whether it was related to his business interests or personal life. But they did not steal anything from the house,” he said.

Mr Ncube said Tapson’s gun was registered and he used the weapon for personal security.

A local businessman and chairperson of Maphisa Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr Denny Ncube, said they were devastated to learn of Tapson’s death.

He said Tapson had contributed immensely to the development of Maphisa Growth Point.

“It’s painful to lose even a sick person and what more a healthy one in such a brutal manner. I was shocked to learn of his death. I’ve known him for 10 years and we have been working together in our various sectors to develop this area. We have a lost a brother in business. We will remain scared and vulnerable as long as the motive behind his brutal murder is not known. Was it an attack on his business or there is another motive?” said Mr Ncube.

He said the Maphisa community would only be relieved when his killers are arrested.

A source at Maphisa claimed Tapson’s killing, which he described as an assassination, was not a random attack.

“From what I’m gathering, Tapson might have had legitimate businesses but it’s not all he was doing. Some of his businesses could have been just a way of cleaning his dirty money.

“There are claims that he was involved in several cash in transit heists in South Africa. As it stands there are claims that his attackers could be some of his close relatives who left him with substantial amounts of cash when they conducted raids in South Africa but he was no longer forthcoming in giving them back their loot.

“Apart from that claim, there are also allegations that his son was involved in a robbery recently in South Africa before disappearing with the loot after something went wrong resulting in his accomplices not getting their share. The culprits came to him demanding that he reveals the whereabouts of his son but he would not budge. They allegedly told him that they would be coming back. So, there is speculation that it could be the same team that came for him. Clearly, he had many enemies within his close circles,” said the source.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he would comment on the matter today.

state media