Power and money driving political killings - church leader

2017-07-20 13:48
KZN Regional Christian Council director Mxolisi Nyuswa has delivered his testimony on political violence in the province before the Moerane Commission in Durban (Kaveel Singh, News24)

KZN Regional Christian Council director Mxolisi Nyuswa has delivered his testimony on political violence in the province before the Moerane Commission in Durban (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Durban - The struggle for power and money are the key causes for political killings in KwaZulu-Natal, a prominent church leader has said.

KZN Regional Christian Council (KZNRCC) director Mxolisi Nyuswa delivered his testimony on political violence in the province before the Moerane Commission in Durban on Thursday.

Nyuswa said the church had been involved in political violence monitoring since 1999. He said the KZNRCC had employed 28 violence monitors that would focus on hotspot violently political areas.

"They are trained and know what to look for and where to go. They visit events such as political campaigns and funerals. We make sure they do not intervene because they are not equipped. They monitor and relay information."

Nyuswa said there were traditional hotspots of violence such as in Estcourt and hostels in particular.

"We have monitors not staying far away from hostels in Umlazi and KwaMashu. They help us understand the political climate and the violence that takes place."

Nyuswa said that until 2009, there were many instances of violence between opposition parties. This trend had declined with intra-party violence on the rise, he said.

"Intra-political violence and fighting for positions is especially common in last election. People are mainly fighting for councillor positions or particular positions such as mayor. This is the latest we have received from monitors."

READ: Money, lack of morality contribute to political killings - expert

Fight for money and power

He said there was also an emergence of violence due to socio-economic factors.

"When tenders are out, people start fighting for that. When you read the press, you find some people might have been involved in competing tenders and were killed. This is the perception from the public that the monitors have sourced."

With what has become a common theme for the commission, Nyuswa said power and financial enrichment was also a key factor to political violence.

"Power and economic influence or factors go together. We see that people get political power, decision making power - and that helps them decide who gets what. If there is something at stake that people benefit, they will fight tooth and nail for it."

He said that monitors were deployed from June to October 2016 to understand violence around the election period. He said it was found that politicians often "chose the bullet instead of dialogue".

"It was unfortunate that they had to result to the bullet rather than political dialogue. It has become a common trend to eliminate your competition."

READ: Abahlali baseMjondolo reveals murders, corruption at Moerane Commission

Right person for the job

Nyuswa also concurred with a number of previous submissions at the commission saying that leaders needed additional qualifications for public positions.

"Not getting the right person for the job has compromised the municipalities and government as a whole. People are deployed in terms of loyalty. Those people who are capable and have the right credentials are left out in the cold."

He said this was perceived as a "serious concern of the community.

"We as a team are concerned about that. Being a [leader] is not about the individual, but about the people of that particular ward, district, province where they are operating. We need the right people who know exactly what to do."

He said that if one analysed local municipalities, it was clear that many failed to produce clean audits.

"Look at number of local municipalities with qualified audits. If people are competent enough we would not have these reports. We need to have clean audits."

Violence in KZN

According to Nyuswa KZN was violent because it was highly contested from a national standpoint.

"By virtue of being big in numbers KZN is politically a highly contested province. Political parties, once they back KZN, they win, and there is less to do in other provinces. Tensions are always high in KZN."

KZN Premier Willis 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.

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