More political hits feared

2012-08-03 00:00

VIOLENCE within parties is the product of power struggles for positions and access to resources, said Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu yesterday.

The issue emerged in the KZN Legislature during a debate in the wake of the killings of public representatives and leaders in the province.

Speaking to The Witness, the MEC said it was easier to deal with inter-party killings than to deal with intra-party fighting, which was on the increase.

Thirty murders and two attempted murders have taken place since 2010. There have been 11 murders this year, 14 murders and two attempted murders in 2011 and five murders in 2010.

Mchunu said he wanted the issue out in the public domain because he was concerned that if the trend continued KZN would regress to it violent past.

He said there had been 17 arrests in the past two years and cases were at various stages of the legal process. Thirteen murders remain unsolved.

He said he had approached Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and asked him to reconsider the formation of a national intervention task team to look into the killings.

“We do have confidence in the police and provincial commissioner, but we feel that national will bring more resources and necessary expertise to assist our provincial police,” he said.

Mthethwa’s spokesperson, Zwe Mnisi, yesterday confirmed that there have been discussions between the minister and Mchunu, and consultations with provincial police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni.

Mnisi said the discussions were aimed at formulating solutions to the challenge of political killings.

“Safe to say, it is a matter receiving urgent attention not only in KZN but across the province,” said Mnisi.

The existence of the province’s multi-party political oversight committee set up to address political violence had made the problem easier to deal with, he addded.

However, the Inkatha Freedom Party leader in the legislature, Blessed Gwala, felt that the oversight committee had been ineffective. He said the ANC was become more concerned about the violence because its own members were increasingly becoming victims.

Mchunu urged political parties to educate their members on human rights and tolerance.

“These are critical pillars of democracy and we have to inculcate these principles into our own members …” he said.

• nalini@witness.co.za

hoosen haffajee remembered

TODAY is the 35th anniversary of the death in detention of Pietermaritzburg resident and dentist Dr Hoosen Haffajee.

The 26-year-old dentist was found hanging in a cell in Durban’s Brighton Beach police station on August 3, 1977. A pathologist report noted that Haffajee sustained multiple injuries and that about 60 wounds covered his body.

UMgungundlovu Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee said yesterday that with the spate of political killings in the province it was worth remembering that people like Haffajee had paid the supreme price and sacrificed their lives for freedom and the democracy we enjoy today.

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