The convenor of the African National Congress (ANC) political task team in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday, said that the biggest threat to stability in the province is political killings.
“Comrades, currently the biggest threat to the stability and well-being of our movement in this province is political killings,” said Mike Mabuyakhulu.
“Irrespective of their standing and positions in society, and irrespective of who they are, those whose hands [are full of the] blood of our leaders and activists, deserve no mercy, but [must] face the full might of the law… If any of them are part of our movement, of which I doubt, they must be treated in the same manner that any criminal thug would be treated.”
The ANC is currently re-running its eight provincial conference, originally held in 2015, which was declared invalid by the Pietermaritzburg High Court last year.
The political task team was established earlier this year as an interim leadership structure to ready KwaZulu-Natal to resolve factional challenges in order to pave a way for the running of the conference.
Drawing on acts of violence during and just after the country became truly democratic, Mabuyakhulu said that the difference between then and now was that “then we knew who our enemies were, and today it is difficult to pinpoint the enemy”.
KwaZulu-Natal has been plagued with infighting since before the 2015 conference, with dozens of political killings having taken place since then.
In 2016, premier Willies Mchunu established the Moerane Commission of inquiry to find the underlying causes of the violence. The commission’s report is expected to be made public within the next two months.
Mabuyakhulu said it was an “objective reality” that ANC members were dying “at the hands of assassins”.
“The question is, who sends these contract killers or hit-men to murder our comrades and what is the endgame for the killing of our comrades?” he asked.
The conference needed to confront these issues, he said.
“While there is a state response, including the formation of a special task team to investigate these killings by the president of the republic, as well as the recommendations of the Moerane Commission…there must also be an organisational response.”
Mabuyakhulu said that without pre-empting police investigations, delegates had to be “awake to the possibility that these killings may have something to do with access to resources by hook or by crook”.
“Underpinning almost all contract killings is the profit motive. Accepting that some view the ANC as the easiest road to riches, it makes sense that there could be those who would use all methods to remove those who they see as stumbling blocks to realising their nefarious aspirations,” he said.
But the party also needed to be awake to the possibility that it may have been infiltrated by those who do not share the principles and values of the liberation movement, he said.