DURBAN, May 13 (ANA) – The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal and the Inkatha Freedom Party have both condemned the spate of apparent politically motivated killings in the province after they both lost a member to killers in two separate shootings on Friday night.
At about 6.40pm, on the R66 King Dinuzulu Highway, Ulundi, IFP PR councillor and Zululand district chairman Sbuyiselo Dlamini, 35, “was driving his vehicle, crossing a set of robots, when his vehicle was blocked by unknown suspects who opened fire at him. He sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was declared dead at the scene”, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Saturday.
In the second shooting, at about 7pm, in the Pata area, Pietermaritzburg, ANC activist Musawenkosi Maqatha Mchunu, 45, was driving his vehicle turning into his driveway when he was ambushed by unknown suspects who fired several shots at him. He was shot multiple times and was rushed to hospital where he later succumbed to his wounds, police said.
“The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal condemns the brutal, callous, and cold-blooded murder of politicians in the province. As the leader of the society, the ANC is dismayed and shocked at this evil incursion to our province. This, after losing three community leaders in less than a week,” the ANC said in a statement.
“We are severely pained by the continuous killing of community leaders. We call on the law enforcement agencies to investigate the wanton killing of ANC leader cde Msawenkosi ‘Maqatha-Qashana’ Mchunu in Moses Mabhida region and IFP’s Sbuyiselo Dlamini in Ulundi.”
On Monday, Sifiso Cele, ANC Oshabeni branch treasurer in the Ray Nkonyeni municipality in the Lower South Coast Region was murdered in front of his family. “We sincerely wish to express our deepest condolences to the families of the ANC and IFP leaders whose lives perished in the hands of thugs,” the ANC statement said.
The ANC called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to “urgently intervene in the impending security crisis in KwaZulu-Natal, as it has become clear that there is a systematic way of eliminating political leaders to create doubt ahead of the next year’s democratic elections”.
In a separate statement, IFP Youth Brigade national chairman Mkhuleko Hlengwa expressed shock, and said Dlamini was elected as a PR councillor in 2016 and served on the executive committee (Exco) of the Zululand district municipality where he chaired the planning department portfolio.
“His untimely death has robbed us of a promising and budding leader who had a lot to offer through his leadership, insight, and intellect. It is the expectation of the IFPYB that law enforcement agencies will be thorough with their investigation and bring the killers of our brother and those who sanctioned his murder to book. Our comrade has been killed in cold blood and the only way we will find closure is when justice is done. We demand justice. The IFPYB conveys its deepest condolences to the Dlamini family,” Hlengwa said.
Earlier on Saturday, the South African Police Service (SAPS) said its political violence task team was investigating the murders. Acting KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Maj-Gen Bheki Langa appealed to the community to remain calm and also to share any information with the SAPS that could lead to the apprehension of the perpetrators. The motive for both attacks were still unknown, Langa said.
The latest murders bring the number of alleged political killings of members of different political parties to well over 80 since 2011, when added to figures presented by the ANC at the Moerane Commission of inquiry last year.
Independent researcher and KwaZulu-Natal violence monitor Mary de Haas has placed the figure as high as 104 over the same period. When 2018 murders that are thought to be politically motivated are added to her figures, the number sits at around 110.