ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule gave an ANC NEC briefing at Luthuli House today, in which he claimed the killings of councillors in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) were not politically motivated.
Magashule said the killings would not affect the KZN provincial conference set to take place this weekend.
”We will be spreading ANC NEC members across branches in KZN. The provincial conference will continue. Killings are killings. It is a criminal thing, not political. There is this pattern of targeting people. We will be able to crack these killings,” he said.
What was set to be an underwhelming briefing got interesting when journalists asked questions at the end, and Magashule was confronted about the spate of alleged political killings.
Magashule’s denial of the political motives behind these killings comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned them while addressing the 20th annual African Renaissance Festival at the Convention Centre in Durban last week.
Ramaphosa used part of his address to consider what the late Nelson Mandela would have made of the killings.
“He would have spoken vocally and loudly and said some of the expressions of disagreements that manifest themselves in the killing of people you disagree with must come to an end.”
The latest in what are widely believed to be a series of political killings took place over the past weekend. An ANC member was shot in his home in the Harry Gwala region of KZN, while in Mpumalanga’s Gert Sibande region, a member of the MKMVA was shot at an ANCYL conference. An NFP chairperson was attacked while driving his vehicle in the Natal midlands. All three were killed.
In a recent interview on Radio 702, Mary De Haas of the Independent Research and Violence Monitor voiced her concerns not only about the growing number of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal, but on the fact that the perpetrators of these killings were hardly ever prosecuted.
In February, IEC provincial electoral officer Mawethu Mosery said in a statement that KZN had the highest number of by-elections in the country as a direct result of these killings.
Curbing the rise of this epidemic will require decisive action from the ANC. A good start would be the ANC secretary-general acknowledging the political motives behind these killings rather than claiming that “it is a criminal thing, not political”.
The ANC NEC briefing was called to address a number of issues. In particular, Magashule was expected to name Supra Mahumapelo’s successor as North West premier.
Magashule instead said the NEC needed more time to deliberate on the matter.
Later in the briefing, Magashule also said in the next few months, the ANC would start rolling out a programme of action for land expropriation without compensation. Members of the ANC’s top 5 have been vague about what was decided at a recent land summit in Boksburg.