Split in alliance fuels KZN fury

Nathi Nhleko
Nathi Nhleko

A high-level investigation into political violence in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has established that serious tensions exist between the ANC and its tripartite alliance partner, the SA Communist Party (SACP).

The tensions have been blamed on dissatisfaction caused by the list of candidates who stand to benefit after next week’s elections.

City Press has obtained a confidential copy of the full report, handed to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, which he quoted at a press conference this week.

The report also reveals that the ANC and SACP were at loggerheads over nominations – and a number of Inkatha Freedom Party and National Freedom Party councillors or nominees were targets of the violence.

In addition, some nominees have been forced to hire private security guards to keep themselves and their families safe – and taxi hit men have been hired to kill members of opposing factions.

The report – compiled by a task team consisting of police detectives and officers from the Hawks and crime intelligence units, along with other departments – found that it was mostly ANC members, nominated for various positions, who were targeted.

City Press has learnt that the police are prioritising KwaZulu-Natal, in terms of the deployment of officers, to avert further violence in the province next week.

The latest report reveals that police have recorded “25 politically related violent incidents” throughout the country.

Most of these – 14, to be precise – have been murders and attempted murder cases.

Two of the cases were arson related, while a few incidents were classified as assaults and the illegal pointing of firearms.

According to the report, 15 suspects – including an unnamed senior ANC member’s bodyguard – were among some of those arrested.

Several other suspects, some of whom are known to the police, are also wanted by them for several outstanding cases, including murder and attempted murder.

A case progress report included in the document reveals that, during the time that the ANC and SACP were holding separate meetings at Inchanga, outside Pietermaritzburg, on June 24, “while the SACP was busy with their meeting, ANC members came and interrupted the SACP meeting”.

Two people were shot dead – one of them being one of the “ANC members who were interrupting the SACP meeting”.

Seven suspects were arrested, but charges were subsequently withdrawn against two of them.

During his media conference at Parliament – alongside acting national police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane, and Hawks head Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza – on Wednesday, Nhleko said: “The bulk of the killings took place in KwaZulu-Natal, but there have also been incidents in other provinces.”

One case of murder was registered in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, the North West and Mpumalanga, respectively.

Nhleko said that more than 50 000 police officers would be deployed at the country’s 22 612 voting stations.

However, City Press has learnt from two senior officials within the security cluster that these would include officers from the notorious Tactical Response Team – known as the amaBerethe – as well as specially trained snipers and the SA Police Service’s Air Wing. Public Order Policing Unit officers will also be deployed.

The deployments have been informed by a State Security Agency report, which City Press reported on last month.

In that report, KwaZulu-Natal is highlighted as the province with the highest number of problematic security hot spots – and with the greatest security concerns before and after the elections.

The report goes on to state that in KwaZulu-Natal, at least 50 wards are unhappy with their nominees – including 19 wards in eThekwini and five in Nkandla.

“Widespread disruptions will provide grounds to challenge electoral results,” the report has found.

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