DURBAN, October 19 – KwaZulu-Natal African National Congress (ANC) chairman, Sihle Zikalala, on Thursday told the Moerane Commission of Inquiry in Durban that “a deeply ingrained culture of violence” was at the core of the province’s political killings.
Zikalala testified earlier in the day that according to the party’s calculations, based on law enforcement reports, 80 politicians had been killed in the province since 2011. Thirty people from various political parties had died since the start of 2016, he said, with 19 of these coming from the ANC.
“The ANC wishes to caution against, and dispute the view that the killings are the ANC’s problem alone. It is our submission that these killings are a broader societal problem, one that was inherited from our past apartheid-colonialism era, whose legacy lingers until this day,” said Zikalala.
He said that “in the main”, violence in the province could be attributed to contestation for political power, careerism in political office, inter-political conflict, a possible “third force”, inadequate transformation of the state security apparatus, family disputes and Izinkabi (hitmen).
“This contestation for political power is backed by the belief that holding office comes with influence and control over state resources, which can be accessed for material benefit and self-enrichment.”
Inter-political conflict manifested mainly in hung municipalities where killing the councillor of a governing party created the possibility of changing the power balance and leadership.
Zikalala said that external influences of the province’s apartheid past could not “exactly” be characterised as a third force, but that the party was “ill-equipped to rule out its hand, perhaps in new forms”.
He said that more needed to be done to transform the state’s security apparatus.
“The integration of the erstwhile apartheid-state South African Police with the KwaZulu Authority’s Zulu Police (ZP) in the case of our province has been broadly successful. However, we do contend that there may well be remnants of the past still hovering around, and quite unhappy to see peace and stability prevail, especially in this province.”
Some killings were clearly a result of family disputes, he said, as some successful convictions had concluded.
The role of hitmen in the taxi industry had been highlighted in many taxi industry killings, he said.
Zikalala’s testimony continues.
There was no quick fix to the political violence and killings plaguing KwaZulu-Natal, the African National Congress’ (ANC) provincial chairman told the Moerane Commission investigating political killings on Thursday.
“It is very clear to us that there are no short cuts or quick fixes to ending the violence. The very existence of the commission is informed by the ANC’s call for an objective judicial body to assist us get to the very bottom of these killings,” ANC KZN chairman Sihle Zikalala told commissioners.
Zikalala was testifying in Mayville, Durban, on behalf of the ANC’s provincial executive committee.
The party has come under scrutiny at the commission as witness after witness testified to infighting and contestation over posts as being two of the biggest factors driving violence in the province.
Zikalala said the ANC’s own assessments of the killings, based on an analysis of law enforcement reports, indicated that 80 politicians had been killed in the province since 2011. The victims included party members, leaders, councillors and candidate councillors.
The commission is tasked with investigating political violence and killings from 2011 onwards.
“Since January 2016 the killings included 19 members of the ANC, three members of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), three members of the National Freedom Party (NFP), three members of the South African Communist Party (SACP), and one member of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF),” he said.
The commission needed to help the party – through its findings and recommendations – to assist families, friends and comrades who had endured “untold pain and suffering from the loss of their loved ones, to find closure and healing”.
Zikalala said: “These killings of politicians have affected most of the political parties in the province albeit on different degrees. Of all the political parties, the ANC has been the most affected party.
“Out of failure to appreciate objective realities or out of sheer opportunism, many have sought to then conclude that the killing of politicians is the problem emanating from the ANC and is, therefore, a problem of the ANC.”
Zikalala’s testimony continues.