ANC’s KZN killing fields

2012-09-11 00:00

WITH two more senior ANC leaders gunned down in the KZN South Coast, questions are being raised whether the area is becoming the province’s latest killing fields with comrade pitted against comrade.

ANC Oshabeni branch chairperson Dumisani Malunga and branch secretary Bheki Chiliza were killed in a drive-by shooting on Sunday night while returning home from an ANC meeting.

Oshabeni is a rural area about 20 km outside Port Shepstone.

Their deaths come three months after ANC councillor Wandile Mkhize was killed outside his home in Margate. His friend Nhlakanipho Shabane, who was also wounded in the attack, died in hospital three weeks later.

Port Shepstone police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Zandra Wiid said Malunga and Chiliza were found with gunshot wounds to their heads inside a vehicle.

The pair were killed after dropping off a third person.

Wiid confirmed that police were questioning some people, but no one had yet been arrested.

Malunga and Chiliza’s murders come at a time when one of KZN stalwarts, the Reverend Elliot Mogojo — who was key to the peace process in the province during the bloody days of inter-political violence — will be buried in Port Shepstone today.

This time, however, the violence in the province appears to be intra-political rather than between opposing political parties.

President Jacob Zuma and other high-ranking politicians, including fired police commissioner Bheki Cele, will be among the mourners at Mogojo’s funeral.

Answer Chiliza said his brother, Bheki — who was not married — was a committed community worker and well liked.

Senzo Malunga said his brother, Dumisani, was a political activist who worked for the ANC and other alliance parties. “We did not think that he would die in this way.”

Dumisani was single and had worked for the KZN Department of Health at Murchison Hospital.

In his reaction, Ingabadi Group executive director Nhlanhla Mtaka said the ANC should accept that the political environment in the South Coast had been poisoned.

There seemed to be a danger of lawlessness setting in with people beginning to take the law into their own hands, he said.

Chiliza was also the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) South Coast chairperson and a shop steward at Marley Pipe System for the past six years,

Numsa regional secretary Mbuso Ngubane said while he did not want to pre-empt investigations, the union was suspicious that the murder was politically motivated.

The SACP, meanwhile, has also called for a concerted effort to put an end to “the contract killing industry” in the province.

As expected, speculation was rife yesterday on whether the killings were linked to the broader ANC political succession battle.

However, ANC sources in the area did not want to venture publicly on this path.

Others felt it could be a regional squabble linked to factions wanting access to positions within the municipality and access to tenders.

Ugu by-elections co-ordinator Mondli Chiliza (not related to Bheki Chiliza) said he was not sure if the killings had anything to do with the choosing of candidates for an upcoming by-election.

There is a vacancy in the Hibuscus Coast municipality following the death of a local councillor, who died of natural causes two months ago.

ANC sources said Malunga was tipped to be the branch’s preferred candidate, but this was opposed by another faction.

KZN Community Safety MEC Willies Mchunu said the murders came at a time when police were being praised for arresting two suspects linked to Mkhize and Shabane’s murders.

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