Moerane hits hard

2018-09-21 15:45
Advocate Marumo Moerane SC.

Advocate Marumo Moerane SC. (Siyanda Mayeza)

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The fight over political positions that allow individuals to enrich themselves through the irregular awarding of municipal tenders and cushy jobs is the main reason behind KZN’s political killings, the Moerane Commission has found.

The commission, whose report was tabled in the KZN provincial legislature by Premier Willies Mchunu on Thursday, found that members of political parties in the provinces were more than ready to kill those who stood on their way to becoming municipal councillors.

“Accession to the position of councillor puts one in close proximity to the awarding of tenders and creates the opportunity for the manipulation of the tender process for the personal benefit,” the commission found.

The commission was established by Mchunu two years ago to probe political violence in the KZN after the number of people who had been murdered in suspected political killings skyrocketed, reaching 100 by 2017.

During hearings, the commission heard from witnesses that several ANC leaders — including former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary-general and uMzimkhulu Municipality councillor Sindiso Magaqa and ANC Nquthu councillor Vusi Ntobela — were killed as a direct result of politicians’ fight for resources in municipalities across the country.

While politicians and political parties also ran provincial government departments, the commission found that political killings were largely concentrated in local government.

“The murders of politicians were at a local level, involving mainly councillors and branch leaders of political organisations. The election into a political position of councillor gives one political power which creates the opportunity for access to resources through tenders and other financial avenues, leading to corruption, crass materialism and conspicuous consumption,” the commission found.

The commission, which was headed by Advocate Marumo Moerane, also heard about how councillor nomination processes, particularly within the ANC in the province, were manipulated to allow members aligned to a particular faction within the party to be endorsed as a councillors.

Without making any direct reference to the ANC, the commission in its report concurred with the views expressed by disgruntled ruling party members who testified at the commission’s hearings, conducted last year over a 12-month period.

“The evidence of a number of witnesses confirms that branch, regional and provincial meetings of political parties are manipulated using a number of underhand tactics which seek to marginalise some in the battle between different factions.

“This often results in violent attacks and retaliatory attacks, which have been at the core of a number of murders of politicians.”

Amongst others, the commission recommended that government should immediately take measures to depoliticise the public service.

“The state must rebuild a public service that is driven by the politics of delivery and public service and not the politics of patronage and personal accumulation. The state must also take measures to immediately enforce the separation of powers, duties and functions between public representatives and public officials and hold each accountable professionally and criminally for their respective conduct,” the commission said.

Mchunu, who said he would be forwarding the report to various national departments to help ensure the commission’s recommendations were fully implemented, urged political parties in the province to immediately implement the recommendations.

“Studying the findings and recommendations of this report leaves one with a clear understanding of the magnitude of the situation we are faced with,” he said.

The DA was quick to use the report to throw political punches at the ANC, placing the blame squarely on the ruling party.

“The DA believes that the findings of the Moerane Commission are extremely damaging to the failing ANC and that its leadership in this province should hang their heads in shame. These murders are happening on their watch.

“Their own comrades are killing each other. Those who are fighting against corruption are also being killed,” DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said.

However, the ANC hit back, accusing the DA of grandstanding on a “sensitive matter”.

“This report is not about the ANC but about all the political parties in the province. It is extremely irresponsible for the DA to grandstand on a serious matter such as the killings in the province,” ANC provincial spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  moerane report

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