Pietermaritzburg - Is the assassination of ANC councillor candidates and high ranking members the work of well trained operatives sent by “dark forces”?That is the fear of the ANC in the province who are worried about the recent murders of its candidates. The party said the killings appear to have been carried out by “well-trained operatives whose re-emergence in KZN harks back to the political violence of the 1980s and 1990s”.With elections due in less than two weeks, the party revealed yesterday that more of its members have now received death threats.Analysts have warned that the violence might persist even after the elections if the ANC does not stop “imposing” candidates.Political analyst Protas Madlala said the continued imposing of candidates by the ANC on communities will lead to more politically linked deaths.“The common denominator here is that people are disgruntled about the imposed candidates and I think, because of that, the killings will continue,” said Madlala.Madlala said some politicians had become greedy and only thought about their pockets.“At the centre of this is poverty and greed. They put candidates in so that they can get tenders,” said Madlala.Violence monitor Mary de Haas said it was concerning that people were still being killed, despite nominations having been finalised.“There may well be inter-party incidents and tensions in strongly contested areas, for example the ANC vs the IFP, the ANC vs Independent candidates or the EFF.”She said the crux of the problem was that there were few convictions.“So people get away with it. And because hit men are generally used, it becomes even more difficult to get a conviction of whoever sent the hit men, especially if witnesses die.“As long as people keep getting away with murder, those who want to kill political or other enemies will continue doing so,” she said.De Haas expressed fears of more violence in the by-elections to be held after the elections should the slain ANC candidates win their wards.The names of the slain candidates would still be on the ballot paper as they died after parties had already signed off on the ballot paper.“There would be more competition, which will lead to tensions. Protests would also continue after the elections,” she said.The ANC in the province has called for Premier Willies Mchunu to establish a Commission of Enquiry to probe these killings. “The ANC is also calling for an urgent meeting with the provincial and national ministers of safety and security to deal with these killings,” said provincial secretary Super Zuma.Zuma warned the killings could plunge the province into chaos and instability ahead of the August 3 elections.“The ANC in KZN is raising alarm bells in response to what appears to be a deliberate and well-orchestrated campaign to cull the party’s candidates for councillors ahead of the upcoming local government elections. “As the ANC we are concerned about the slow progress in apprehending the perpetrators and in identifying the dark forces that apparently stand behind this carnage”, said ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma.• firstname.lastname@example.org Glebelands HostelANC VICTIMS OF POLITICAL KILLINGS THIS YEARThree ANC candidates have been shot and killed this month to date, after four ANC branch leaders in Pietermaritzburg were in June. On Monday, ward 1 candidate in Umziwabantu Municipality (near Harding) Bongani Skhosana and ward 20 candidate in newly formed Alfred Duma Municipality (near Ladysmith) Khanyisile Ngobese-Sibisi, were shot and killed in two separate incidents.Ward 6 candidate in Newcastle’s Emalahleni Municipality Thembi Mbongo was also killed earlier this month.In Pietermartizburg, Edendale ward 12 branch treasurer Simo Mncwabe, who had resigned as Mpofana municipality chief financial officer, was shot and killed while taking his children to school on June 1. On the same day, Nathi Hlongwa, who had served as the branch chairman in the same ward, was shot and killed outside his home after leaving an ANC branch meeting.Ward 15 ANC additional members of Imbali branch Badedile Tshapha and Phetheni Ngubane were also shot and killed on June 8. Assassinations before this were of ANC councillor Zodwa Sibiya was shot and killed in Glebelands Hostel in April. ANC Youth League deputy chairperson in Newcastle Wandile Ngubeni was shot and killed in May.Bongani Hlatshwayo and Phillip Dlamini were also killed during a public meeting at the sports ground in Inchanga, between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in January.