The political landscape of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has been marred by a series of violent incidents, with recent investigations shedding light on the extent of the crisis. The Interministerial Committee, tasked with probing political killings in the region, has revealed alarming statistics that underscore the gravity of the situation.
The African National Congress (ANC), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and National Freedom Party (NFP) have emerged as the parties most affected by this wave of political violence. The committee’s briefing in Durban highlighted that from a total of 52 murder cases involving councillors, a staggering 31 were ANC councillors. The IFP lost 14 of its representatives, while the NFP mourned the loss of four. Other parties, including the EFF and ACDP, also faced casualties, albeit in smaller numbers.
Last month alone, KZN witnessed four separate shooting incidents targeting politicians. This surge in violence is not a recent phenomenon. The committee, established by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July 2018, was a response to the growing number of political assassinations in the province. The tragic death of ANC councillor Sindiso Magaqa, who succumbed to gunshot wounds, was among the incidents that catalyzed the formation of this committee.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, chairperson of the committee, emphasized the internal threats faced by politicians. The findings suggest that the most significant danger to these political figures often comes from within their own parties. Cele also provided an update on the investigations, noting that since July 2018, the task team has delved into 321 dockets, marking an increase of 63 dockets since the last update in February of the previous year.
The situation in KZN has garnered national attention, with many calling for swift action to curb the violence and ensure the safety of political figures. The underlying causes of these killings remain complex, intertwined with political rivalries, power struggles, and broader socio-economic issues.
While the committee’s revelations provide a clearer picture of the crisis, the path forward remains fraught with challenges. The need for comprehensive solutions, encompassing security measures, political dialogue, and community engagement, has never been more pressing.
The ongoing investigations and the committee’s work are crucial steps towards understanding and addressing the root causes of the violence. However, the onus also lies with political parties, community leaders, and the broader public to come together and forge a path towards peace and stability in KZN.