The mysterious surge in political violence in KwaZulu-Natal over the past decade, particularly around election time, can be traced back to the ANC’s 52nd national elective conference in Polokwane in 2007, according to a political analyst.
While ANC national executive member Ace Magashule has denied the killings of ANC members in KZN were politically motivated, political analyst Elvis Masoga said political violence in the province was an entrenched culture in both ANC and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) members since the early ’90s, and had taken a new direction after the ANC’s post-2007 membership drive.
“Remember, its decision at the Polokwane conference in 2007 widened the gates for membership to rise to one million before 2012 and that was the root cause of these political killings we are witnessing today,” said Masoga.
“That open membership drive meant the ANC had to go across all corners of the country, recruiting every single person who was willing to come into the ANC in order to reach the million-membership target.
“So it was to be expected this would include all sorts of people, including gangsters, conmen, tricksters and all sorts of characters. Some good and some not so good and not so honourable.
“This spiralling of political killings should be understood in that context.”
He added many of the new recruits were former members of the IFP, a party which was notorious for initiating violence in the province in the years preceding and shortly after the dawn of democracy.
“KZN used to be the IFP’s stronghold for many years. Where do you think those new ANC members came from? A large number were originally IFP members. So you can see where this violence most likely comes from.”
While killings involving ANC members have dominated the headlines of late, the scourge of politically motivated killings seems to have spread to other organisations.
Land rights lobby group Abahlali Basemjondolo has experienced at least five alleged assassinations of its members, including chairperson S’fiso Ngcobo in the Durban informal settlement of eKukhanyeni last week.
Meanwhile the office of the auditor-general in KZN had to withdraw all its staff working on audits at municipal offices after many received death threats this month.
“The ruling party has to look in the mirror and make a plan to act on these murderous shenanigans being upheld in its movement,” warned Masoga.