Durban - IFP president Emeritus and founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has decried the latest spate of political killings in the province, saying that those who are corrupt and devious see in councillor positions the chance for self-enrichment.
Buthelezi was addressing scores of IFP’s supporters at the Ulundi Stadium, now called the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Regional Stadium, at the party’s final rally before the local government elections on Monday.
Buthelezi’s concerns over the political killings come as at least seven people have been murdered in what Police Minister Bheki Cele last week referred to as politically motivated killings in recent weeks in KwaZulu-Natal.
Those killed include EFF ward councillor candidate Thulani Shangase, who was gunned down last week in Pietermaritzburg after being involved in campaigning for the red berets. Days before Shangase’s murder, Siyabonga Mkhize, an ANC councillor candidate for ward 101 in eThekwini was shot dead while on the campaign trail in Cato Crest, while on Tuesday the NFP announced the death of its ward 17 councillor candidate in Nongoma, Dumisani Qwabe.
The NFP said Qwabe’s car had bullet holes and blood stains, an indication that he might have been shot before being put in the car, which was then set alight.
“Another serious problem that has come up in this campaign, as it has in every campaign before, is the problem of political killings,” Buthelezi said. “Three years ago, the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into politically motivated killings in KwaZulu-Natal revealed the shift towards intra-party violence; that is, violence within a political party aimed at securing positions, income and the chance to influence tenders.”
He said that books like War Party had increasingly shone the spotlight on the governing party’s internal political war and that it was this very internal political war that unleashed devastation on KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July, when the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma sparked co-ordinated efforts to bring the country to its knees.
“Over the past month, several councillor candidates have been murdered while many others have gone into hiding under threats to their lives. Why would a councillor’s life be threatened? Not because they serve the community’s needs, but because those who are corrupt and devious see in councillor positions the chance for self-enrichment,” Buthelezi said.
He added that the spectre of violence had haunted the ANC in this campaign because while one day they were celebrating their former leader’s release from prison, the next day their disbanded military wing was holding their own ministers hostage in a hotel.
“Voters need to wake up and realise that the governing party will destroy KwaZulu-Natal if they win this province again. The evidence is before us, and it is blatantly clear. I take no pleasure in saying these things. You know that I grew up in the ANC Youth League and that my uncle, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, founded the ANC in 1912,” Buthelezi added.
In his address, IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said that corruption has robbed South African people because the money that should have created jobs, built houses and provided people with electricity, clean water, roads and fixed potholes, had gone into the wrong hands under the watch of the governing party.
“The damning revelations at the Zondo Commission have told all of us who stole the money that should have changed the lives of the people of South Africa for the better. Corruption must be stopped now. This is why we call on you to vote out the party or councillors with a track record of corruption,” Hlabisa said.