A Pongola councillor was warned that he would be killed due to contestation over positions, his colleague and friend testified at the Moerane Commission.

POLITICALLY motivated killings that have ravaged KwaZulu-Natal will only stop if the ANC is voted out of power.

This was the startling assertion made by an ANC ward councillor from Pongola Local Municipality when he testified before the Moerane Commission on Monday.

Nqaba Mkhwanazi told the commission probing political killings in the province that there would be nothing left to fight for among party members, adding that the killings would stop if the party lost power in its municipalities.

He was giving testimony about the murder of his friend and fellow councillor Mbhekiseni “Pat” Khumalo who was shot dead in December. Khumalo was shot at his front door while his wife and two children were inside the house.

Khumalo had apparently been “imposed” on the community as a candidate for his ward during the local government elections last year. Some leaders in the area were opposed to his nomination and vowed that “there will be a by-election”.

Mkhwanazi said the ANC was troubled by the factions, manipulation of councillor lists and corruption playing out in municipalities.

KZN ANC spokesperson Mdumseni Ntuli yesterday rejected Mkhwanazi’s testimony, saying there was no evidence that the hitmen were hired by members of the party.

“If you look at what happened at the Tshwane Metro, the leadership forced a candidate (Thoko Didiza) the people did not want and people withheld their votes. Now we do not control that metro so there is no reason to fight,” said Mkhwanazi.

“The problem here is that we did not lose anything (municipalities) and that is why people are still fighting for access to positions and resources,” he said.
Asked directly whether he believed it would take the ANC losing power for the killings to stop, he said, “Yes”. “That is very bad for your party,” remarked chairperson of the commission Marumo Moerane.

Mkhwanazi pointed the finger for the murder of Khumalo at party insiders, saying there was a camp inside the party that was against him.

“People attacked him during a municipal imbizo and accused him of failing to deliver services; they did not even live in his ward.”

He said the party needed to put forward one name instead of four.

“In the past, each ward used to have one candidate put forward (instead of four) and there were no killings, maybe we should go back to that.”