The deaths of councillors in the Umzimkhulu Municipality on the south of KwaZulu Natal have taken center stage in the closing arguments of the Moerane Commission.
The Commission concluded hearings with evidence from various witnesses including the police, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and relatives of the victims. Some of the witnesses have attributed the violence in the province to hunger for power.
Evidence leader Advocate Bheki Manyathi says testimony about corruption in the municipality leading to the killings, is unsubstantiated. He says infighting in the African National Congress’s (ANC) Harry Gwala region is believed to be the root cause of the municipality’s problems.
“This Commission is not investigating alleged corruption at UMzimkhulu municipality, specifically allegations of corruption relating to the memorial hall at UMzimkhulu. However in so far as allegations of corruption regarding the Memorial Hall we have cited as the underlying causes of the deaths of the councillors there…”
“The evidence is conflicting and unsubstantiated. The Municipal officials contradicted the allegations of corruption that were made; on the contrary, I will call them, the municipality jointly provided evidence of favourable audits by the Auditor General. The evidence in our view conclusively points to the politics and the conflict in the region of Harry Gwala as being the underlying cause and that spills into Mzimkhulu municipality,” added Manyathi.