ANC KZN hitlist: calls for more policing, emergency

2018-05-14 16:00
Msawenkosi "Qashana" Mchunu leading aggrieved ANC branches who tried to force their way into an ANC Moses Mabhida region consultative meeting in Howick last month. Bodyguards of local politicians fired shots on that day.

Msawenkosi "Qashana" Mchunu leading aggrieved ANC branches who tried to force their way into an ANC Moses Mabhida region consultative meeting in Howick last month. Bodyguards of local politicians fired shots on that day. (Sabelo Nsele)

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The ANC struggled to contain tensions in the party at the weekend amid claims of a political hitlist following multiple hits last week.

The ANC and the IFP have called for urgent police intervention in the impending security crisis, while the NFP has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a state of emergency in the province.

The ANC’s convenor of branches in the Moses Mabhida region, Musawenkosi “Qashana” Mchunu, was shot dead in his driveway in kwaPata in Pietermaritzburg on Friday evening, and the deputy president of teachers’ union Natu, Allen Thompson, was shot and wounded in Umhlanga. An IFP councillor in Ulundi and an ANC branch treasurer on the South Coast were also killed. Thirty people have been assassinated in political attacks within six months.

The factional division was highlighted on Saturday when prominent ANC leaders, including co-ordinator of the provincial task team, Sihle Zikalala, regional chairperson Mthandeni Dlungwane, regional secretary Mzi Zuma, ANC Youth League provincial chairperson Kwazi Mshengu, mayors Themba Njilo and Thobekile Maphumulo were barred from Mchunu’s home by angry ANC activists.

Mchunu was aligned with the supporters of President Cyril Ramaphosa and had led several marches demanding that the Moses Mabhida regional conference be postponed, that the ANC regional executive committee (REC) be disbanded and that corruption in municipalities under uMgungundlovu District, including Msunduzi, be probed.

Allies of Mchunu have vowed to continue their fight in spite of a hitlist targeting those calling for the disbandment of the REC. They said the former ANC Youth League leader had been made aware of a hitlist including his name and those close to him.

REC members who were close to Mchunu, Sandile Dlamini and Mtuza Mkhize, said they had been made aware of a hitlist by intelligence sources.

“Yesterday [Saturday], they told me not to sleep at home,” said Dlamini, who is the ward 35 councillor. They said I must not sleep at home but I refused to do that,” he said. “Even if they intimidate us or kill us, we will soldier on.”

The ANC top brass, led by national executive committee member Zweli Mkhize, and prominent leaders from ANC alliance partners descended on Mchunu’s home in KwaPata on Saturday to pay their respects.

After the visit to Mchunu’s family, ANC members attended a meeting at the City Hall where they discussed the tensions in the region.

One of Mchunu’s close allies, Mtuza Mkhize, said they had been promised a meeting tomorrow with the ANC NEC and PTT where they would be allowed to voice their concerns. “We remain unfazed. When we joined ANC we knew what we were getting ourselves into. The hitlist has always been there and they keep chopping and changing it based on who they regard as a threat at that time,” he said.

Zweli Mkhize said Mchunu’s murder was well planned. “It was cold-blooded. Emotions are very high at the moment. The family is very distraught. This needs urgent intervention.”

Some of Mchunu’s supporters believed the hit was triggered by a joint press briefing by disgruntled ANC branches from four regions on Thursday. “This is a direct retaliation to that [joint press conference],” said Sthembiso Mshengu, who was prominent in Ramphosa’s presidential campaign.

Mshengu said the ANC should stop rushing to hold conferences, but rather focus on resolving issues in branches and regions.

“This thing of rushing to conferences and leaving issues unattended to with a hope that they will resolve themselves is not going to work.

“Instead each and every weekend we are going to bury people. We do not know who will be killed during the course of the week,” he said.

Zikalala said on Saturday that the ANC “condemns the brutal, callous, and cold-blooded murder of politicians in the province. The ANC therefore calls on minister of Police, comrade Bheki Cele to urgently intervene in the impending security crisis in KwaZulu-Natal”.

The ANC Youth League in Moses Mabhida said Mchunu’s murder should not be used as a decoy to can the regional conference on Saturday.

ANC Youth League regional secretary Thembinkosi “Guerrilla” Zondi said many other ANC members had been killed in run-ups to conferences before and those conferences were never stopped.

“Why should we stop this one? Are we saying that the blood of the other comrades is not important?” asked Zondi, who was speaking at the ANC Youth League cadres forum held in Richmond on Sunday.

Zondi will be contesting the position of regional deputy secretary in the regional conference.

The youth league in the province retracted its labelling of opponents of the regional and provincial conferences being held now as a “gang of suicide bombers”.

IFP Youth Brigade chairperson Mkhuleko Hlongwa said they expected law enforcement agencies to be thorough with their investigation and bring the killers and those who sanctioned his murder to book.

Sanco national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said: “The National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) must be reviewed so that adequate resources are deployed to match the escalating senseless violence that has the potential to sow contention and destabilise the region.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  political killings

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