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Johannesburg - No effort must be spared to unmask those behind the spate of political assassinations and mounting senseless violence in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) said on Sunday.

Sanco condemned the latest fatal shooting of an African National Congress elections co-ordinator and two community members at Imfume village, south of Durban in the early hours of Saturday morning, Sanco national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said.

The civic organisation called on authorities to work closely with communities to address rising tensions following the killing of Nqobizwe Mkhize, 42, who was shot dead in his home, apparently in front of his wife while the couple were in bed. 

"No effort must be spared to unmask those behind the spate of political assassinations and mounting senseless violence aimed at sowing [discontent] and destabilising the region," Mahlangu said.

It was alleged that the attackers told his wife to cover herself while they opened fire on him. According to KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala, Mkhize's door was kicked open at 2:30am and three gunmen opened fire on him. He was shot in the upper body and died at the scene. While escaping the scene, the assailants fired shots at two community members, fatally wounding them. 

Mahlangu said threats of violence and civil war, instead of constructive engagement on the proposed land expropriation and the Ingonyama Trust, were inadvertently rekindling the dreadful violence that had claimed uncountable lives and devastated communities in the not so distant past. 

“Political players and traditional leaders must realise that in such a hostile environment any irresponsible utterance or veiled threat of violence by warlords, who are using rising tensions to claim prominence, pushes peace to the precipice,” he said. 

The killings would not be quelled by war talk and empty rhetoric, but a deliberate programme to defuse tensions while addressing contentious issues around which opportunistic warmongers were mobilising. There was a need for a stronger partnership among traditional leaders, churches, and civil society organisations.

“None of these institutions must allow themselves to be dragged into the political mud which is becoming murkier with the start of electioneering towards the 2019 general elections,” Mahlangu said.

African News Agency/ANA