Former KwaZulu-Natal premier and African National Congress (ANC) provincial chairman Senzo Mchunu will next week testify before the Moerane Commission investigating political killings in the province.
Commission spokesperson, Solo Mdledle, confirmed on Thursday that Mchunu would be testifying next week Wednesday.
Mchunu will appear at a time of heightened political tension within his own party after the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday ruled that the ANC’s 2015 provincial conference results were null and void, citing several irregularities.
Mchunu was the party’s provincial chairman prior to the conference but was ousted by current chairman Sihle Zikalala. Mchunu was fired as provincial premier a few months after the contentious elections. A clutch of ANC members who are also known Mchunu supporters took their grievances to court after claiming that internal party processes had failed.
The verdict effectively nullifies the power of the top tier leadership in the province, although the party has said it is seeking to appeal. The appeals process has also caused controversy, with representatives from the provincial women’s, youth and veterans’ leagues stating on Wednesday that they viewed seeking “permission” to appeal from the national ANC leadership as more of a courtesy than a necessity.
The Moerane Commission was established by current premier, Willies Mchunu (no relation to Senzo), to investigate dozens of political killings in the province – the most recent being Sindiso Magaqa, a former ANC youth league secretary general. Magaqa was shot in July, but only died this month while in hospital. Police are looking into the possibility that he was poisoned. Magaqa’s funeral takes place in uMzimkhulu on Saturday.
Mdledle said via a series of WhatsApp messages that other witnesses for the week ahead include Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MPL Blessed Gwala, who would appear on Tuesday, and representatives from the South African Communist Party (SACP), who would testify on Thursday.
Gwala is also his party’s spokesperson on community safety and liaison.
KwaZulu-Natal has been a hotbed of political violence for decades, initially between IFP and ANC supporters. But in recent years it has manifested in intra-party violence as ANC members scramble for high paying councillor positions or seek to settle vendettas, according to testimony heard at the Moerane Commission.