ANC KZN rift ends up in bloodshed, three shot dead, five injured in attack at meeting
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DURBAN - THE volatile ANC nomination process has plunged the party into further chaos after three ruling party supporters were killed in a drive-by shooting in Inanda on Saturday.
Among the victims was 75-year-old Beatrice Dlamini who was a long-time supporter of the ANC.
Beatrice and her husband, Selby Dlamini, another long-time ANC supporter, were attending the party’s ward nomination meeting at Buhlebethu Primary school in Inanda’s ward 54, when a car pulled up outside the venue and opened fire.
The police said three women died in the shooting. Four women and a man were also injured and received medical attention.
The ANC expressed outrage, describing the attack as senseless and called for the arrest of the culprits while the provincial government described the shooting as an attempt to undermine democracy.
Political analysts yesterday said this was just another sign of the deep-seated problems that the party was facing, adding that the ANC needed to modernise to put a stop to the current challenges. Ward 54 is among the wards in which the ANC had to re-run the nomination process for councillors following complaints.
Ward councillor Mandlakayise Mkhwanazi said the voting was just about to start when the shooting started, adding that he learnt from the investigating officer that Dlamini had been shot.
“There are five candidates that were on the nomination list.
“I had not been included in the initial process so my name was not there. The community members questioned why my name was not on the written list.
“The ANC deployees in charge of that meeting noted the community’s concerns and said he would include my name with a pencil with those of the other nominees and would send a report to the ANC in the province,” he said.
“As we were about to start the process to check for credentials, to begin the voting process, a black car with three people in the back pulled up; they started firing randomly and killed three women,” he said.
Mkhwanazi said the shooting was a horrible incident, and what made it worse was that three women were killed.
“The people killed there were just ordinary people that were coming to vote for their preferred candidate for the councillor.
“While such killings are bad and unacceptable, it would have been better if it was us as leaders that were the victims, not women that were just there to vote for the party,” he said.
Beatrice’s husband Selby described what happened to his partner as “extremely painful”.
“She loved the ANC and we have been in the ANC for the longest time, we were there to vote for councillors when a car came up and people started shooting randomly and she was one of the women killed. This is very tragic and very painful,” he said.
Nhlakanipho Ntombela, the ANC spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal, said the party was angry and shocked over the irrational and barbaric incident.
“Innocent ANC supporters, especially women were slain in such a senseless manner while attempting to exercise their democratic right of selecting a candidate to represent their ward in the forthcoming elections. It is concerning and disheartening that the party’s internal contest can lead to such an unfortunate incident, leading to the loss of life and injury to others,” he said.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala described the killings as bearing the hallmarks of a desperate effort to use intimidation and violence as a way of frustrating the will of the people and subverting democracy.
“There is no election or vote that is worth the blood of our innocent citizens.
“We call upon the community to unite and work with the police to expose those who seem to believe that winning an election or becoming a candidate must happen at all costs, even if it means jumping over the corpses of innocent people.”
Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said ordinary members had paid the price because the party failed to organise itself properly. He said the party was in a chaotic state, which was evidenced by its poor finances, failure to raise funds and nomination processes.
Meanwhile, some of the disputes stemming from the ANC councillor candidates selection process in KZN would be attended to after the elections, Appeals Committee chairperson Cyril Xaba said yesterday.
The committee has dealt with more than 700 disputes from different branches across KZN, and Xaba believes that the team dealt with each dispute fairly.
“The process has been clinical, thorough and impartial, and each dispute was subject to such a process. The disputants must rest assured that we are not shirking in our responsibility entrusted upon us by the Electoral Committee under the leadership of comrade (Kgalema) Montlanthe,” said Xaba.
Despite the massive number of disputes, Xaba expressed confidence that they would deal with all of them. “We are determined to work long hours to honour our commitment to finishing all disputes soon after elections.”
Spokesperson for the Zandile Gumede-aligned grouping Njabulo Mchunu said they would apply the wait-and-see approach on the selection process.
“We want to see how the proportional representation list looks, and only then will we see whether the provincial leadership was genuine in resolving our issues,” said Mchunu.
Ntombela said the high number of disputes was a source of concern for the ruling party.
“It is quite concerning that there were so many of them recorded, but it is a learning curve,” said the spokesperson.