“It is irresponsible to try and attribute such an incident to political violence when police are still busy with their investigation,” he said. “Politicians should not be making statements that have the potential to breed political violence in the province.”
Sphumelele Buthelezi, who was the National Freedom Party (NFP) deputy branch chairman in Ulundi, was gunned down on Monday a few metres from her home.
On Tuesday, NFP leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, was quoted by the Daily News as saying: “As the 2014 election campaign intensifies, we, as the NFP, are worried that some people are out to eliminate our leaders to weaken our election campaigns.”
It was disturbing, Magwaza-Msibi continued, that at about the same time last year, Themba Jiyane, the NFP chairman of the same branch, was also shot dead. No one has been arrested so far in connection with that case.
However, Mchunu said it was premature to suggest that Buthelezi’s death was linked to political violence. “We must wait for the police’s investigation.”
It would be difficult to say at this stage whether Buthelezi was a victim of crime, factional or political violence.
Mchunu played down fears that political killings in the province could escalate ahead of the upcoming general elections.
“Our police have a machinery that functions well; there is also a multi-party forum in the province set up to prevent such kind of violence – I do not think there is a chance of that happening,” he said.
KZN police spokesman, Thulane Zwane, said police were investigating a case of murder.
“The motive for the killing is unknown … and no arrests have been made.”
While there were indications that Buthelezi might have also have been raped before being shot, Zwane said the police would only be able to determine the motive, as well as the circumstances surrounding her death once the investigations are concluded.
KZN has the highest incidence of political violence in the country. There have been about 60 political murders in the province over the past five years.