Police are closely monitoring the situation in Inchanga, just outside Pietermaritzburg, following a spate of what is said to be politically motivated violence that has gripped the area. Two deaths, one injury and a volley of protests have been reported as locals point to rifts between ANC factions as the cause of the bloodshed and protests.
The ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson, Mdumiseni Ntuli, told The Citizen that the killings were seemingly following a pattern, as violence had been experienced in Inchanga prior to the local government elections.
“We have a team that met the ANC in Inchanga and community forums for an understanding of the situation. I can confirm that we do have a problem, which seems to be taking the same pattern as the violence before the elections.” This ward was highly contested in the run-up to the elections. He said two groups within the ANC have “two organisational identities” – one group was also affiliated to the SA Communist Party (SACP) – and that seemed to spark tension.
“Our own view is that it’s tension between comrades … members of ANC and SACP.” Inkatha Freedom Party national chairperson Blessed Gwala said the incidents have created instability, which also undermines the “normal functions of society”. “It creates a fertile ground for chaos,” he said.
“The truth is, intra-party killings started even before the elections because the ANC is jostling over positions.” KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Shoes Magudulela said since the protests, 42 people were arrested for public violence and damage to property, after the torching of houses in Inchanga. “[Yesterday ], police had to fire rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. They had also been blocking the road with bricks and had started fires.”
He said on Sunday night, a woman was shot and killed, and a man shot and wounded. According to reports, Nonsikelelo Blose was the secretary of the SACP’s Inchanga branch. Another person was then shot and killed on Monday morning. “The situation is currently calm,” police said. Two people have since been arrested for murder and attempted murder.