MEC accused of tirade

2012-10-04 00:00

TRANSPORT, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu — a member of the ANC’s provincial executive committee — will be asked to explain in the legislature statements he allegedly made that have been interpreted as threats on the lives of Inkatha Freedom Party and National Freedom Party members in Estcourt.

Mchunu is alleged to have launched into a tirade, attacking opposition parties, during a sod-turning for a taxi rank in Estcourt on Tuesday. He denied making threats, saying he had spoken out “strongly” against people who wanted to return to “the days of bloodshed” in KwaZulu-Natal.

The event was attended by community members and IFP and NFP councillors of the Mtshezi Municipality.

In an affidavit given to the Estcourt police yesterday, IFP constituency chairperson and councillor Mziwandile Mthembeni Majola said he was shocked at Mchunu’s “violence-provoking utterances”.

He quotes Mchunu as saying: “You [the opposition] have killed ANC ward councillor Jimmy Lembede with the aim of stealing the municipality. We as the ANC are not scared of you, you are nobodies.

“We killed the Boers, the enemy which was stronger than you, and we did not kill you because you are fellow black South Africans.

“Now you are taking advantage of that, and are conniving against the ANC.

“You will never defeat us, even if you kill our members. To show that we are not scared of you, we will visit Cornfields, Frere, eSigodlweni and Wembezi C-Section”.

These areas are all IFP and NFP strongholds.

Lembede was gunned down in August, while fellow ANC councillor Nelson Ndawonde died later of natural causes.

Their deaths compromised the ANC’s grip on the council and last month the NFP and IFP combined to remove ANC mayor Bongani Dlamini and replace him with Bhekithemba Dlamini of the NFP.

According to Majola, Mchunu said the NFP surprised him by taking municipalities “fraudulently” in collaboration with the IFP.

“Mchunu’s utterances took us by surprise given the fact that he is in charge of community safety and liaison,” said Majola.

“Now we are not sure whether to prepare ourselves for the announced violence. ANC members are engaged in a power struggle and they are killing one another in the process, so Mchunu must not shift the blame.”

He said Mchunu had also moved the sod-turning from ward four to ward eight, where by-elections would be held to replace the dead ANC councillors.

The NFP’s Bhekithemba Dlamini, who was also at the event, said he could not believe Mchunu’s statements, saying: “We were all taken by surprise. We have written a letter of concern to our national leadership and a decision on what happens next in response to this unnecessary provocation will be taken once the matter is discussed.”

He called on Estcourt residents not to “get excited by the MEC’s irresponsible utterances”.

Mchunu said the allegations were lies by people hell-bent on disrupting his efforts to end violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

“I spoke strongly against people who want to take us back to the days of bloodshed in the province.

“I also spoke strongly against the present manoeuvres by certain people to deal a deadly blow to the ANC-NFP working agreement.

“I was in the forefront during the negotiations towards the agreement and it must be protected by all means.

“I’ve worked and still work towards bringing a stop to the unnecessary killing of innocent people, irrespective of their political affiliation,” he said, adding he would welcome debate to discuss his address at the function.

Political analyst Protas Madlala said such statements could fuel tension in the area.

However, it was unlike Mchunu to make such statements, he said.

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