JZ warns of dark forces

2012-07-09 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma expressed concern yesterday that KwaZulu-Natal would slide back to the dark days of violence, political killings and intolerance.

He also warned that there were “forces of darkness” who wanted to divide the movement and cause mistrust.

Zuma was speaking at the funeral of ANC South Coast leader Wandile Mkhize, who was shot at night near his Manaba home on Saturday last week as he arrived back from the party’s national policy conference in Midrand.

Mkhize’s funeral was held at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre in Gamalakhe and was attended by the ANC’s top brass and thousands of mourners.

Zuma said: “I am very concerned with the killing of the leaders in this province which is now becoming common practice. “I want to appeal to all ANC members to be vigilant, as it seems that there still exists some forces of darkness who are bent on dividing our movement and creating mistrust. “We are even more concerned when such deaths are targeted towards ANC leaders, and they die in a hail of bullets in an assassination style.”

The president said he was worried about KZN sliding back to the era of political killings and intolerance. “This province comes from a dark past of violence, political killings and intolerance and we were past that.”

Other alliance leaders also raised concerns about Mkhize’s killing, and suggested his murder may not be purely criminal.

Buti Manamela of the Young Communist League said: “Mkhize was not a security guard, a business person, or a tenderprenuer, he was a politician and the political link cannot be completely removed (from his killing).

Cosatu provincial secretary Zet Luzipho said it was important that the police arrest not only the person who shot Mkhize, but also the person who planted the idea. “We could all be standing here mourning only to learn that one of us is the suspect,” he said.

KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize said while no one knew why Mkhize was killed, it was essential that the police investigated the matter.

He warned party members against the link between political criminality and business interests.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikala said: “They may have killed Mkhize, but they will never kill his ideas.”

Thousands of mourners, many dressed in ANC colours, packed the large marquee erected at the centre. Many had to stand outside for hours because the marquee was full. The sports field in the centre was packed to capacity with vehicles. Among party leaders who attended, were ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaga and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, who received an SMS from Mkhize less than an hour before the murder, urging unity in the ANC.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, former top cop Bheki Cele and ANCYL deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi were also present.

Mkhize is the third ANC leader in the South Coast region to be killed. In 2006 Zakhele Cele was killed with his two friends, while in 2007 Bheki Dlamini was also shot and killed.

Last year, Durban regional leader Sbu Sibiya and ANC councillor Wiseman Mshibe were also killed.

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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