Durban – A seasoned academic has on Tuesday, told the Moerane Commission investigating political violence in KwaZulu-Natal that the province has a “culture of blood” where politics, money and murder interlink.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Professor Paulus Zulu was testifying on day two of the second sitting of the commission after a recess in June.
“There is a culture of eliminating the competition,” he said, as was the case with taxi violence, and the perception was that those involved in political violence were protected higher up in the political realm. The province had a “culture of blood” he said.
“Street demonstrations culminate in violence, people just do what they want to do. If I don’t like my employer, I go and block the N2. We honestly have brought about a very anarchic situation,” he said.
Zulu, author of “A nation in crisis -- an appeal for morality”, drew a picture of people clamouring for positions that were financially viable and relatively easy to attain.
National politics was fictionalised, so it followed that provincial and local politics would be, he said. Those at the apex of the political ladder had to maintain their positions by seeking support from the political base.
Zulu has been researching political violence in the province, starting in uMlazi, since the 1980s, has been a director at UKZN’s Maurice Webb Race Relations Unit and served on the board of the Human Sciences Research Council.
He said that compared to public representatives from other countries such as Canada, India and Australia, South African politicians were incredibly well paid. An ordinary MPL was paid better than a university professor, he said, and also had the opportunity to receive kickbacks.
Ensuring that councillors were qualified were one way to stem the tide of violence, he said. This did not necessarily mean a university degree was essential, but one needed a certain set of skills and level of education to understand a budget and grasp certain concepts, he said.
Besides questionable intellectual qualifications, some politicians had questionable “moral qualifications”, he said. Politicians with criminal records were sitting in Parliament, he said.
On Monday, the commission heard testimony from human rights activist Vanessa Burger and a former Glebelands Hostel resident who could not be identified for safety reasons.
The witness said that hitmen allegedly affiliated to the African National Congress had been instructed to kill people on the orders of police who lived at Glebelands Hostel.
Burger painted a chilling picture of the notorious hostel as a haven for hitmen who operated throughout the province.
She said she had received information indicating that there was a link between a Glebelands’ hitman and the shootings of three ANC councillors in uMzimkhulu last week Thursday. All three councillors survived the attempt but were hospitalised.
The commission continues on Wednesday, with representatives from shack dwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo set to testify.
African News Agency