The IFP says it is concerned about the recent murders of its members ahead of this year’s elections, with two killed in this week.
An IFP ward councillor Ndukenhle Duma and two pupils were killed in Nongoma, northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Wednesday afternoon prompting national police commissioner General Fannie Masemola to deploy the national task team responsible for investigating political killings to search for those responsible.
This was after the IFP interim secretary in Estcourt, Mthokozisi “Nguqunguqu” Sithole, was shot dead in Weenen on Saturday.
IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli said the acts were a direct attack on the country’s democratic values.
“The IFP in KZN demands that law enforcement agencies leave no stone unturned in decisively dealing with this matter, ensuring that the perpetrators responsible are apprehended and swiftly brought to justice.
“The IFP recognises the need for unity and tolerance among politicians, community members, and all stakeholders in society.”
He called on community members who may have information about the incidents to contact the police.
He said co-operation from the community was essential to assist law enforcement in their efforts to bring those responsible to account.
Ntuli said the party urged all political stakeholders to join hands in condemning violence and promoting a peaceful electoral process.
The party has also called for the full implementation of the findings of the 2017 Moerane Commission of Inquiry into the killing of politicians in the province.
The commission, established to investigate and report on the underlying causes of the murders, and to curb the number of deaths associated with the political violence, recommended appropriate actions to be taken to prevent future incidents and steps to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes were successfully prosecuted.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said Masemola had ordered the mobilisation of maximum resources to apprehend those behind the incidents. Mathe said a preliminary investigation indicated that the IFP ward councillor, who is attached to Nongoma Local Municipality, was ambushed along the R618 in Nongoma while attending to a vehicle breakdown on Wednesday.
Mathe said a group of armed men stopped next to the councillor’s vehicle and shot him multiple times.
“The suspects then fired shots at a passing scholar transport taxi that was transporting schoolchildren. Four children were shot and wounded and two of them, aged 11 and 12, sadly succumbed to their injuries.”
She said Masemola wanted to assure the community of Nongoma that police were working around the clock to trace and apprehend those behind this attack.
“Members of the community with information on this incident are also urged to come forward to assist police investigations,” Mathe said.
It has been reported that Sithole, 36, played an integral role in a recent by-election in Weenen which was won by the IFP. The municipality is governed by the IFP in a coalition with the DA.
Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said political violence in the province was a concern, especially as this was taking place weeks before a general election.
“The recommendations of the Moerane Commission have yet to be implemented and there is no commitment to implement them.
“We get the sense that people are getting away with these killings – and this in turn encourages others who want to commit similar crimes. Yet the perpetrators and those behind these crimes are not brought to justice,” Khumalo said.
He said the only way political killings would end was if the perpetrators are arrested and convicted.
Another analyst, Professor Sipho Seepe, said the underlying causes of politically motivated crimes needed to be analysed while police were trying to arrest those responsible.
“There are two types, inter-party and intra-party violence and they are both fuelled by money being paid, as some see politics as a career that they are desperate to get into.
“There is also a lack of sufficient discouragement from the parties themselves because the parties have allowed vote-buying to become part of their processes. If you can use money to buy votes, nothing stops that from extending to paying people to carry out murders.”