The ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal leadership has wrapped up its evidence of the Moerane Commission into the killing of political office bearers by rebutting claims by the SACP and its own members that it had turned a blind eye to violence and corruption.
Chairperson Sihle Zikalala, secretary Super Zuma and deputy secretary Mluleki Ndobe all played down suggestions that violence had spiralled out of control under their watch, arguing that they had inherited a violent society conditioned to use force to settle political disputes.
Zikalala and Zuma, in response to questions from evidence leaders Advocate Bheki Nyathi, said that claims ANC eThekwini secretary S’bu Sibiya was killed as part of a plan to take over the region from the leadership headed by then chairperson James Nxumalo, Zuma said that ‘’nobody was killed’’ in the run up to the 2015 eThekwini conference despite several failed efforts.
‘’We need to be factual,’’ Zuma said. ‘’Who was killed in that process? Nobody was killed.’
They also denied that a ‘’network of patronage’’ ran from ANC national structures to the branches and back.
‘’It cannot be that we sit and plan how we are going to direct issues in a particular region or municipality. It is just a view that cannot be backed up by any factual reality on the ground,’’ Zuma said.
They also denied claims by ANC activist Thabiso Zulu, a friend of murdered uMzimkhulu councillor Sindiso Magaqa, that they had been forced out of the 2008 Harry Gwala region conference, saying they had chosen to leave along with some branches.
Zuma said there was ‘’no correlation’’ between those tensions and the current wave of killings in the municipality.
Zuma said there were ‘’issues’’ at uMzimkhulu relating to alleged corruption and that ANC members in the area ‘’suspect eachother’’ over the killings, which include the murder of speaker Khaya Thobela two months before Magaqa.
Zuma said the postponement of the Harry Gwala regional conference till next year would help defuse tensions.
Zuma said that at Intshanga, both ANC and SACP members had been killed and denied claims that the leadership had not attempted to end the conflict.
Zikalala denied claims that state intelligence agencies were being used in ANC dsputes.
‘’We always strive to maintain the independence of the state organs including the state security apparatus. We can’t be the ones who are complaining about their role in the previous era of apartheid and then come and do the same,’’ Zikalala said.
Zikalala and Zuma also defended their assertion that a Third Force may be involved in the violence, saying this needed to be properly investigated.
‘’External forces,’’ Zikalala said, would benefit from the ‘’weakening of the ANC.’’
The Commission is set to extend its life by several months to make up for time lost between its proclamation last year and its first hearing in February. Commission secretary Solo Mdledle said they had approached Premier Willies Mchunu for an extension which Cabinet had approved. They were waiting for the official proclamation to be gazetted.