Voters in uMzimkhulu, in southern KwaZulu-Natal, say they hope that the police will ensure their safety when they go to the polls on Wednesday.
The small rural town has been in the news after several political killings, the most prominent being the murder of former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader Sindiso Magaqa.
A decision on the bail application of the three men accused of Magaqa’s murder is expected in the uMzimkhulu Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Political tensions in uMzimkhulu reached crisis levels in 2017 when five ANC activists were killed.
Magaqa’s killing was widely condemned as were those of other officials – the council speaker Khaya Thobela and Councillor Mduduzi Tshibase.
It’s emerged in the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into political violence that the killings stemmed from a fight over tenders and positions.
Locals expressed concerns about the tensions in the area. They say they’ll vote for development and employment which they hope will bring stability.
A resident, Thamsanqa Mjikelana says, “I am very much concerned about the safety, because we are not safe really. uMzimkhulu is very much high risk area. People are dying.”
Another resident, Siphiwe Genqezana adds, “As a community member and an old member, I am concerned about our children when they start killing each other. Why are they doing this? Why don’t they call old people if there is something they don’t understand?”
Relatives of Magaqa said they were unhappy about delays in politically-related cases.
The council of uMzimkhulu is still without a speaker since the killing of Thobela two years ago. This has had an adverse effect on service delivery at the troubled municipality.