Back to the dark old days?

2016-06-10 12:30
Badedile Tshapa

Badedile Tshapa (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - Is KwaZulu-Natal heading back towards the violent, dark political past of the pre-1994 elections era?.

This was the question from political analysts The Witness spoke to on Thursday after yet another shooting of ANC members in Pietermaritzburg.

Badedile Tshapa (56) and Phetheni Ngubane (50), members of the ANC’s Imbali branch executive committee, were shot and killed while returning from a meeting in the township on Wednesday night.

University of KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu warned that if the situation is not dealt with “fast enough”, the province will find itself back in the bloody era of political violence.

“It is not like the 90s violence just mushroomed with 20 killings; it started with isolated incidents then flared up.

“The numbers are escalating at an alarming rate. Law enforcement agencies need to act fast,” he warned.

The killing of the two follows the recent murders of two former ANC Edendale branch leaders.

Former branch chairperson Nathi Hlongwa was shot and killed outside his home after attending an ANC meeting on June 1.

The day before, Simo Mncwabe, who had just resigned as the Mooi-Mpofana Municipality’s chief financial officer, was shot and killed while taking his children to school in Edendale.

Mngomezulu suggested that the ANC do some “soul searching”.

“They need to investigate whether this is not internal factions before even thinking about pointing fingers at opposition political parties,” he said.

The analyst said the problem started last year, before the party’s provincial conference.

Robust lobbying had split the party into two camps in the run-up to the conference, where current chairperson Sihle Zikalala triumphed over former premier and ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu.

KZN violence monitor Mary de Haas said it was clear the ruling party had not dealt with that factionalism.

“There seems to be broader tensions between the two factions.”

De Haas said the removal of Mchunu as the premier would not do the new leadership of the party any good.

“You can replace the premier, but that does not mean you will win the hearts of his supporters,” she said.

Despite provincial secretary Super Zuma denying on Wednesday that the rise in protests in the province was directly attributable to the disaffection of communities with the party’s candidates lists, De Haas linked the protests to the “growing” unhappiness with the party’s internal processes.

“It seems a lot of it is linked to corruption in the ANC. It is an old story. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma [the African Union chairperson and member of the ANC national executive committee] initiated a commission that had found serious irregularities in some ward candidate nominations.

“It is quite shocking to learn that some of those names that were implicated are still among the nominees for the upcoming local government elections,” De Haas said.

She said the situation could get worse.

“People are angry. In the last elections people were unhappy about irregularities, but the violence never got to this level,” she said.

ANC regional secretary Mzi Zuma said the latest killings were of concern to the region.

“This region was stable; the latest developments are shocking,” he said.

Zuma said law enforcement agencies had assured them that the killers would soon be arrested.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

THE situation in the ward in which Tshapa and Ngubane were active members is tense.

An insider said there had been growing unhappiness with the ward candidate selected for the area.

The ward had been set for a by-election last year after the death of councillor Garnet Mlete.

The election was, however, halted by the Independent Electoral Commission after the Tlokwe judgment.

The insider said this had given two rival factions a chance to campaign for their preferred candidates.

“It is going to get worse,” said the insider.

Tshapa and Ngubane were accosted by unknown gunmen while walking home from a meeting on Wednesday night.

Tshapa died at the scene while Ngubane died yesterday in hospital.

Plessislaer police spokesperson Captain Musa Ntombela said four shots were fired from a 9-millimetre pistol.

“Two 9 mm cartridges were recovered from the crime scene and one 9 mm bullet head was also found at the scene.

“No arrest has been made at this stage and the case is still under investigation. We will do our utmost best to arrest the criminals immediately,” he said.

Tshapa’s son, Bhekani Tshapa, said his mother had been earmarked for a position on the branch committee, but he was not sure which position she was to occupy.

“She had always been an active member of the ANC, even when she was still based in Bulwer.

“While I was coming back from work, I bumped into her walking to the meeting. We spoke and laughed. She told me she had taken care of everything at the house.

“Later I got a call to say I must rush to the scene of the shooting. She was dead when I got there,” he said.

Attempts to speak to Ngubane’s family were unsuccessful yesterday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  anc

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