THE ECONOMIC Freedom Fighters (EFF) in KwaZulu-Natal said on Tuesday that they were shocked to learn about the violent killing of their ward candidate in the Midlands area at the weekend.
EFF provincial chairperson in KZN Vusi Khoza said he hoped the killing of an aspiring candidate in ward 20 in Msunduzi, Thulani Shangase, was not related to the political intolerance experienced in the area.
Khoza was referring to an incident that involved EFF leader Julius Malema last month, where ANC supporters refused to let him enter a voting station in the Willowfontein area, around 9km south of Plessislaer in the Midlands, where Shangase was shot.
While the motive for Shangase’s killing remains unclear, Khoza believes only the police can determine whether or not the killing was politically linked.
“We were shocked to learn about the untimely passing of our councillor candidate for ward 20 in Msunduzi. We hope that it is not linked to the political intolerance that we have been experiencing in that particular part of Pietermaritzburg.
“We can’t say that this killing has anything to do with politics. Nonetheless, we want the police to act swiftly so that the perpetrators can be apprehended so we can get to the bottom of the matter and why he was so brutally killed,” Khoza said.
Shangase was returning from an EFF campaign meeting in the Harewood area when he was shot on Sunday. This, just a couple of days after an ANC KZN candidate in ward 101, Siyabonga Mkhize, and another member were fatally gunned down.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said that a 72-hour activation plan involving a specialised unit had been mobilised to hunt down the suspects.
Political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu said that some people could be using the political climate to push their own agenda.
“Sometimes, you may find people who have their own personal differences, but then they wait for the right time to kill their opponents. So, in this case, anyone who dies while the country is gearing for an election, then that person is assumed to have died because of political reasons, even if that is not the case.
“In this instance, unfortunately, this EFF candidate was killed in the area where the leader of the EFF, Julius Malema, was prevented from entering the venue, which resulted in a squabble before he made his way in. Some may say this killing comes from that, and in the worst-case scenario, some may say he died at the hands of the ANC or any other political party.
“Until the police and security forces tell us exactly what happened, there will always be speculation, and those speculations will be linked to the upcoming local government elections,” Mngomezulu said.
Mngomezulu said, regardless of whether or not Shangase’s death was related to politics, it painted a bad picture of the country and may put a dent in its democracy. He said if people feared for their lives and stayed away from the polls, then voter percentage would fall, and whichever party won, would not enjoy the support of the majority of the people.
The Plessislaer police station, in the area where Shangase was gunned down, recorded the highest number of murders in the country, according to police crime statistics for the first quarter of the year.
In the first three months of the year, the station recorded 73 murder cases, which was followed by Inanda station with 63 and uMlazi with 61, making KZN the murder capital of South Africa.