IFP hits back at MEC Sipho Hlomuka for implying that it’s behind Nongoma political killings

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Sipho Hlomuka. Picture: Supplied

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Sipho Hlomuka. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 5, 2023


A fresh war of words has erupted between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the MEC for Community Safety and Liaison in KwaZulu-Natal over the rampant political killings sweeping across the province.

This was after the IFP hit back at MEC Sipho Hlomuka for implying that it was behind the spate of political killings in Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Hlomuka touched a raw nerve when he made this comment on Thursday during a press conference about safety measures in the province ahead of the elections next year.

While addressing the media, Hlomuka touched on the issue of political killings in the province, emphasising that in Nongoma, the killings surged after the IFP was ousted by the African National Congress, Economic Freedom Fighters, and National Freedom Party (ANC-EFF-NFP) coalition a few months ago.

“What is worrying in Nongoma is that the trend of the assassination of councillors started after the coalition led by the ANC, the NFP, and the EFF too.

“When the IFP was in power, we did not see these rampant attacks or threats to councillors.

“We must indicate that it first happened in August 2023 when the NFP councillor Ntombenhle Mchunu was killed,” Hlomuka said at the briefing.

That did not sit well with the IFP, with Blessed Gwala, its national chairperson, who is also the spokesperson for the party on community safety and liaison in the provincial legislature, firing a salvo at Hlomuka.

Gwala said it is disingenuous for Hlomuka to insinuate that the IFP is involved in the killing of councillors in Nongoma after it was ousted from municipal power.

“We caution MEC Hlomuka to stop these dangerous utterances and the issuing of careless and inflammatory statements, as they could perpetuate political violence.

Many councillors have been killed in Nongoma. The first mayor in South Africa to be killed was Bhekuyise Sikhonde, who was the IFP mayor in Nongoma.

“IFP councillors such as Themba Ntshangase, Prince Mbongiseni Zulu, and NFP Councillors Dumisani Qwabe and Ntombenhle Mchunu have also been killed,” Gwala said.

"To date, no one has told us who killed these IFP councillors and others.

“Does MEC Hlomuka mean to imply that they committed (died by) suicide, were struck by lightning, or were eaten by lions?

“MEC Hlomuka must stop his slanderous propaganda exercise of attempting to deliberately mislead the nation by distorting facts about the IFP to suit his political agenda. Words matter. Leaders should be very cautious about the things they say, especially in public,” Gwala said after Hlomuka’s comment.

Last month, Police Minister Bheki Cele said Zululand and eThekwini have become the centre of political killings.

He also said it appears that coalitions are not negotiated around a table, but the barrel of the gun is used to settle the matter.

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