/ 17 September 2018

Moerane Commission Report to be made public

It’s a wrap: The Moerane commission completed its probe into politically motivated killings in KwaZulu-Natal this week and will submit its report to the province’s premier on April 30.
The commission was chaired by Advocate Marumo Moerane, SC, supported by commissioners Vasu Gounden and Professor Cheryl Potgieter. (Madelene Cronje/M&G)

The long-awaited report of the Moerane Commission into the killing of political office bearers in KwaZulu-Natal will finally be made public by provincial Premier Willies Mchunu this week.

While the release comes at a time when police have made some breakthroughs in investigating the killings, which have escalated since 2015, it also comes against the backdrop of the assassination of two political activists in the past two weeks.

Thami Ngidi, the spokesperson for Mchunu, who appointed the commission in response to the spike in political murders ahead of the 2016 local government elections, said the commission report would be tabled in the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday afternoon.

Ngidi said the political parties in the legislature, whose representatives on the public safety and premier’s portfolio committees had already processed the report, would then be given an opportunity to comment on the report and its recommendations.

The commission, chaired by Advocate Marumo Moerane, SC, supported by commissioners Vasu Gounden and Professor Cheryl Potgieter, heard evidence from the families and friends of victims of the killings, the political parties, the security forces and civil society groupings. The hearings dealt with, among others, the assassinations of former ANC secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and Richmond municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole, both of whom were murdered after the commission had been appointed.

They also heard evidence about the murders at the notorious Glebelands Hostel at Umlazi during which allegations of complicity in the killings in the hostel — where more than 120 lives have been lost since 2015 — and in the murder of state witness Sipho Ndovela at the Umlazi magistrate’s court.

Recent arrests have been made in the Magaqa case, with a suspect appearing in the Umzimkhulu magistrate’s court last Thursday. A group of eight men, one of them a South African Police Service detective, have been arrested over a series of killings at Glebelands and are appearing in the High Court, Pietermaritzburg, on Thursday.

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The Moerane report is expected to present recommendations around councillor selection by the political parties in a bid to reduce the level of deadly competition around council seats.

It will not, however, make any recommendations around the prosecution of any person.

At the weekend the IFP’s UThukela District spokesperson, Zakhele Mazibuko, was shot dead in an ambush on the road between Colenso and Estcourt. A week ago an ANC KwaNdengezi, Durban, branch chairperson, Thulani Nxumalo, was shot dead at his home.