ANC tensions put KwaZulu-Natal on edge yet again

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Sep 14, 2021

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Killing of three women has sparked fears of political violence ahead of elections

KwaZulu-Natal is still tense following alleged ANC candidate list-related killings that have sparked fears of political violence ahead of the local government elections.

Exacerbating the situation further is last week’s directive from the office of the acting secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, who indicated that all outstanding community meetings to nominate local government elections candidates and disputes be completed by September 12.

It is anticipated that as the Wednesday deadline approaches for the list to be sent to Luthuli House there will be jostling and heightened tensions within ANC structures.

Yesterday in his capacity as ANC provincial chairperson and premier, Sihle Zikalala, accompanied by the provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli and former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, visited the families of three women killed in a drive-by shooting in Inanda, Durban, to mourn with them.

The three victims, Beatrice Dlamini, Philisiwe Jili and Ncami Shange, were killed after an Opel Corsa bakkie with five occupants drove by Buhlebethu Primary School at Newtown C where a group of people had gathered in front of the school gate.

Zikalala condemned the act as barbaric and said law enforcement agencies must work day and night to bring the killers to book

“The incident on its own reflects barbarism and it has thuggish elements that we cannot accept in the ANC. We (the ANC) have conducted more than 95 percent of wards that are expected to select candidates and all along everything has been normal though in some areas there have been tensions but those tensions have been within the confines of the movement. Mostly, what we have seen was the appeals where members who are dissatisfied would appeal to provincial list committee,” he said.

Speaking to Independent Media yesterday, ANC KZN spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the PWC (provincial working committee) was going to meet late yesterday to discuss issues including the disputes over candidates and the issue of tensions.

“Of course we look at that issue (political tensions in ANC structures), we can’t ignore it,” Ntombela said.

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the province was scathing over the killing, saying all the signs were there that violence was slowly rearing its ugly head, yet nothing was done.

Provincial secretary Themba Mthembu who called the Inanda incident a “mafia-style killing”, cited several branch meetings in the eThekwini region where even high calibre rifles were brandished.

"The situation has now worsened and resulted in the brutal killing of three community members, women murdered in broad daylight, by criminals who are backward in thought, backwardly pagan in behaviour, scoundrels in attitude, by declaring a deadly war through the barrel of the gun. This is to intimidate the community by leeching their right to life, political activity and to vote," he said.

He added that the killing was never anticipated and as a result, it has heightened tensions in the province.

“We never anticipated that we would be returning to the dark days of political killings with impunity and the violent conflict continues to be an important aspect of South African democracy. It builds a tense political climate and it is, unfortunately, an illustration of the state of our local politics in the district and a precursor towards the future of the national democratic revolution.

“We call upon SACP members and communities to work with law enforcement agencies, to put these political mercenaries behind bars. We plead with law enforcement agencies to not omit their responsibilities and speedily apprehend the murderers,” Mthembu said.

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