2018 saw KwaZulu-Natal becoming a focus for political killings. The killings cut across political lines with the ANC bearing the brunt, followed by the IFP and the NFP.
The African National Congress’ (ANC) Harry Gwala region in southern KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest number of members killed this year. Among those who were killed, in what is believed to be politically-related killings, was former ANCYL Secretary General, Sindiso Magaqa. His murder followed that of five party members who were killed last year.
The murder of an outspoken ANC activist in the Moses Mabhida region in the midlands, Maqatha Mchunu also sent shock waves across the province. His murder caused unrest and exacerbated tension among rival party factions in the region and among party members in KwaZulu-Natal.
It was after his murder that President Cyril Ramaphosa himself visited the province and met with the family and later with party structures in the province. The President also put together a Security Cluster Inter-ministerial Task Team to investigate the spate of political killings.
“The killings that have been happening here in KZN are a matter of concern. There seemed to be some people who want to make KZN a killing field and we are not going to allow that,” said the President.
Soon after the Inter-ministerial task team was formed, the Police Minister announced a new National Task Team to investigate political killings in the province.
“We have taken a decision to change the members of the Task Team that was responsible for the investigation of political killings in KZN. The new project team has 108 members plus eight members from the previous task team,” says Police Minister Bheki Cele.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the National Freedom Party (NFP) also saw members killed.
IFP councillor at Zululand District Municipality, Sbuyiselo Dlamini, who was also the party’s youth brigade leader in Ulundi was ambushed on his way home in May this year.
In September, the IFP also lost another party councillor, Zakhele Mazibuko, who was ambushed in Escourt in the midlands. Mazibuko was the party’s Uthukela district publicity secretary.
Another brutal murder was that of ANC’s eThekwini councillor, Sbu Maphumulo. He was gunned down at V-Section in Umlazi Township in October.
The National Police Task Team investigating these killings has made breakthroughs in almost all these killings.
KZN Premier Willis Mchunu: “The issue of political killings was a negative aspect to our province. Through the Moerane Commission report you will realise that the Moerane Commission says to us this issue of political killings is mainly related to seeking power at local government level in municipalities.”
Meanwhile, the Moerane Commission that was investigating the underlying causes of political killings, found among other things that the root cause of these killings is access to resources through tenders.
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