Politicians must stop turning funerals into political rallies - KZN church

2017-07-20 20:46
KZN Christian Council's Rev Sonto Thusi says political power has motivated violence and death in the province. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

KZN Christian Council's Rev Sonto Thusi says political power has motivated violence and death in the province. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Durban – The growing trend of politicians "rallying" at funerals is a worry for churches, the Moerane Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

"Lately, funerals have become like rallies. That is concern to us as clergy. There is no reason to use that platform for that. People have come to mourn with that family, to pass along their sympathies. It should not become political," KwaZulu-Natal Regional Christian Church (KZNRCC) Reverend Sonto Thusi said.

He was speaking during the fourth day of hearings at the commission. It is investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

He said the fight for power was one of the reasons for political violence. Those in power in political parties were able to deploy others to government entities, and they could in turn influence the awarding of tenders.

Hunger for money

People had become "morally collapsed", Thusi said.

"People are hungry for money. They will do anything to get money. If someone is seen as a stumbling block for them, they will be removed. By removed, I mean killed."

The demand for jobs was another reason for murders, he argued.

"If there is someone hindering me from getting the job, I will label them as someone who belongs to an opposition. That also leads to the killing and death of that person doing that job. It will free me to take that job if they are dead."

Revenge killings

Revenge killings, due to age-old grudges, were another problem.

"I am killing so-and-so because his father killed my father 20 years ago. What is it they have done to you? You may not be personally involved, but you will be attacked for your political affiliation."

Politicians, especially councillors, needed training in politics and in fostering democracy and peace, and in letting go of power, Thusi said.

"They need to understand the role of serving people, especially at a government level. Some become politicians for themselves. But if they can be educated with how they can empower people, that will help.

"They have to understand that if you are in power today, in five years, you may not be. Educate politicians that, to retain power, they must win people through service delivery."

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu established the commission in October 2016, chaired by advocate Marumo Moerane, to investigate the high number of political killings in the province since 2011.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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