Abahlali baseMjondolo reveals murders, corruption at Moerane Commission

2017-07-19 21:29
Sibusiso Zikode from Abahlali basemjondolo testifies at the Moerane Commission. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Sibusiso Zikode from Abahlali basemjondolo testifies at the Moerane Commission. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Durban - The leader of Abahlali baseMjondolo, a shack dwellers organisation, has outlined claims of murder, intimidation, assaults and shootings at the hands of the African National Congress.

President of the organisation, Sibusiso Zikode gave evidence at the Moerane Commission in Durban on Tuesday. The commission is investigating a high number of political murders in the province.

By 12:00, Zikode had outlined at least four murders, several assaults, destruction of property and numerous shootings from 2009 to 2014.

Zikode claimed the attacks were perpetrated and co-ordinated by high ranking ANC and eThekwini housing officials.

He said the attacks began in September 2009 after ANC members attacked his family and several leaders' families of Abahlali.

"I was not found at the hall or my home. My family was then attacked together with the families and high ranking leadership of the organisation. At the time of the attack, dangerous weapons were used. It was guns, cane knives, stones and fires to destroy our homes and head office."

READ: Money, lack of morality contribute to political killings - expert

Violence

He said the Abahlali head office was in Kennedy Road Informal settlement at the time.

"Goods and property was stolen and put into a fire. What concerned us the most is that all of these attacks happened in front of the SAPS, Metro Police and other law enforcement officials."

He said he was surprised when a dozen Xhosa speaking people from the Eastern Cape were arrested for the crime.

"They were the victims of the attack but they were arrested. Their homes and spaza shops were destroyed."

He said they were found not guilty.

"The magistrate noted that the cases were fabricated and court could not rely on the witnesses."

He said that following the incident, high ranking government officials held a press briefing at Kennedy Road Settlement.

"They said they were celebrating Kennedy had been liberated from Abahlali. People had died, others were displaced and they were saying they freed the people."

READ: Commission hears of R50 collections to fund 'hitmen' at Glebelands hostel

International help

He said that during the press briefing, people were transported from other places to fill the community hall.

"Members of MKMVA were also invited. The next morning in the media, headlines were saying I had allegedly killed people. My picture was there."

He said his life was then at risk.

"Violence was being incited; members of MKMVA said I must be hunted and killed. ANC and MKMVA were told I must be hunted and killed."

He said the then sought assistance from international human rights organisations for protection.

"Amnesty International is one of the organisations that came to our aid. I was also offered protection by the US government state department. I went to America for couple of weeks. They told the ANC that if they see Abahali as rubbish to be killed, the US government sees Abahlali as an asset to be protected."

In his most graphic testimony of murder, Zikode recalled the death of Thuli Ndlovu, a young leader for Abahlali in September 2014.

Mother killed

He explained that she was uncovering corruption by a local councillor at the time, Ndunduzi Ngcobo.

After shoddy planning of a housing project in Kwadengezi, the community and traditional leaders were unhappy, he claimed.

"Houses were built anywhere; anyhow. They were built on home yards and top of graves and owners were not consulted. There was no respect with homeowners and graves. There was no consultation with traditional leaders."

He said that Ngcobo would even transport people from other areas and put them in homes.

"I would see the councillor transporting people in his [Nissan] Navara to those houses. Those people were not local. No-one was happy, even traditional leadership because they believed the councillor was selling these houses to these people."

He said that "everyone was afraid of the councillor.

"He was an intimidating person… he was a feared person. It was well known that he carried a gun. Whenever anyone saw his Navara they would say someone would get killed. On the day of her murder, Thuli told her mother she saw the van and wondered who would be killed."

He said that less than an hour after that conversation, Ndlovu was killed.

"A gunman shot Thuli while she was holding a baby. She died on the scene immediately. When she was shot, she was with her two children."

Zikode said there was a third neighbour in matric who was helping Ndlovu's daughter with studies.

"The gunmen realising this child might be the witness then shot her. He survived, but is disabled."

He added that the councillor, another PR councillor and the gunmen were convicted of the murder earlier this year.

KZN Premier Willis Mchunu established the commission in October 2016, chaired by advocate Marumo Moerane, to investigate the high number of political killings in the province.

Read more on:    anc  |  durban  |  political killings  |  politics

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