ANC KZN chairman Sihle Zikalala testified before the Moerane Commission on Thursday. Picture: ANA

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal African National Congress (ANC) chairman Sihle Zikalala on Thursday told the Moerane Commission of Inquiry in Durban that “a deeply ingrained culture of violence” was at the core of the province’s political killings.

Zikalala testified earlier in the day that according to the party’s calculations, based on law enforcement reports, 80 politicians had been killed in the province since 2011. Thirty people from various political parties had died since the start of 2016, he said, with 19 of these coming from the ANC.
 
“The ANC wishes to caution against, and dispute the view that the killings are the ANC’s problem alone. It is our submission that these killings are a broader societal problem, one that was inherited from our past apartheid-colonialism era, whose legacy lingers until this day,” said Zikalala.
 
He said that “in the main”, violence in the province could be attributed to contestation for political power, careerism in political office, inter-political conflict, a possible “third force”, inadequate transformation of the state security apparatus, family disputes and Izinkabi (hitmen).
 
“This contestation for political power is backed by the belief that holding office comes with influence and control over state resources, which can be accessed for material benefit and self-enrichment.”
 
Inter-political conflict manifested mainly in hung municipalities where killing the councillor of a governing party created the possibility of changing the power balance and leadership.
 
Zikalala said that external influences of the province’s apartheid past could not “exactly” be characterised as a third force, but that the party was “ill-equipped to rule out its hand, perhaps in new forms”.

He said that more needed to be done to transform the state’s security apparatus.

“The integration of the erstwhile apartheid-state South African Police with the KwaZulu Authority’s Zulu Police (ZP) in the case of our province has been broadly successful. However, we do contend that there may well be remnants of the past still hovering around, and quite unhappy to see peace and stability prevail, especially in this province.”
 
Some killings were clearly a result of family disputes, he said, as some successful convictions had concluded.
 
The role of hitmen in the taxi industry had been highlighted in many taxi industry killings, he said.
 
Zikalala’s testimony continues.

- African News Agency (ANA)

(Edited by: Devereaux Morkel)