Imposing candidates on communities will lead to more politically linked deaths, KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Protas Madlala said on Tuesday, following the gunning down of two ANC candidates on Monday.
“The common denominator here is that people are disgruntled about the imposed candidates and I think, because of that, the killings will continue,” said Madlala.
On Nelson Mandela Day on Monday, two ANC members and candidates were shot and killed just a few hours apart.
Bongani Skhosana, a Ward 1 candidate in the Umziwabantu municipality, in the Lower South Coast region, was killed in his car, in front of his children as he was about to take them to school.
Khanyisile Sibisi, 41, was shot in the afternoon while on her way to donate goods at a Mandela Day event in Ladysmith.
The death toll, in what are believed to be politically motivated killings, has risen in the lead-up to the August 3 local government elections.
According to a Mercury newspaper report, the latest killings bring the total number of ANC member deaths to 12 – four in Pietermaritzburg, two in Newcastle and the rest from other parts of the province.
Among them was Thembi Mbongo‚ 35‚ a candidate for Ward 6, outside Osizweni, near Newcastle. She was shot dead in front of her husband and children on July 2. Her killers knocked at the door of her home and asked to speak to her.
On June 8, ANC members Badedile Tshapha, 54, and Phetheni Ngubane, 50, were shot while making their way home from a branch general meeting in Imbali, Pietermaritzburg.
Former Mpofana municipality chief financial officer Simo Mncwabe was killed in Edendale while taking his children to school.
ANC Edenale branch chairperson, Nathi Hlongwa, was also shot dead in Mbali township.
Madlala said he feared that most South Africans and political parties were going to cry foul after the August 3 elections, especially after the Tlokwe district Constitutional Court ruling that the elections would continue using the current voters’ roll, with Tlokwe as an exception.
“I see the opposition saying they have been robbed and that people have been bused in. People are going to complain about the candidates in their areas after the elections. The unfortunate thing is that the ANC is stubborn and they have been doing this [imposing candidates] since 1996. This is what is killing the party.”
‘At the centre of this is poverty and greed’
Madlala said the local government elections were the most important elections because the candidates were the faces of the parties.
“The ANC always puts useless candidates, and that is the reason why we have all these service delivery protests. They should be putting their strongest candidates so that services will be delivered to communities.”
Madlala said some politicians had become greedy and only thought about their pockets.
“At the centre of this is poverty and greed. They put candidates in so that they can get tenders,” said Madlala.
KwaZulu-Natal violence monitor and analyst Mary de Haas said it was difficult to say with certainty that the intra-ANC or other killings involving politicians were politically motivated, because the cases were still under investigation or in court.
“Anti-corruption activities or knowledge of corruption seems to be a motive in some of the killings. For example, Zodwa Sibiya, the councillor killed in Glebelands, had spoken out strongly against corruption at the hostel.
“Simo Mncwabe, who had resigned as municipal manager in Mooi River, was alleged by comrades in Pietermaritzburg to know about extortion of money by an ANC official.”
De Haas said some of the killings appeared to be linked to the competition between factions within the party.
“For example, Senzo Mchunu’s supporters opposed to Willies Mchunu’s. There was speculation at the time that Phillip Dlamini who died in Ntshanga, took the bullet for the eThekwini mayor, James Nxumalo, who was due at the meeting at which he was killed, or the preferred candidate for the area.
“Joe Dlamini, who was killed in Pietermaritzburg, was number one on a hit list, and there was an attack on one of the others [ANC members] whose name appeared on the list. The municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi, whose name also appeared on the list, was suspended as manager on the pretext of financial irregularity, but he had made unpopular decisions relating to alleged corruption by senior employees and other unpopular [political] decisions.”
‘Factional resentment continues’
De Haas said all the names on the hit list were people who supported erstwhile premier Senzo Mchunu, who was axed and replaced by Willies Mchunu.
“Even though changes have been made with the replacement of Senzo Mchunu with Willies Mchunu, factional resentment continues and together with a stand against corruption, is said to play a part in some of the killings,” she said.
De Haas said it was concerning that people were still being killed, despite nominations having been finalised.
“There may well be inter-party incidents and tensions in strongly contested areas, for example the ANC vs the IFP, the ANC vs independent candidates or the EFF.”
She said the crux of the problem was that there were few convictions.
“So people get away with it. And because hit men are generally used, it becomes even more difficult to get a conviction of who sent the hit men, especially if witnesses die.
“As long as people keep getting away with murder, those who want to kill political or other enemies will continue doing so,” De Haas said. – News24