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KwaZulu-Natal has always been one of the bloodiest provinces in South Africa – whether caused by faction fights in the ’70s and ’80s, the internecine struggle between the ANC and the IFP in the period before 1994 … and even now, 27 years after the end of apartheid.
The political violence now is – according to Dr Sunday Paul C Onwuegbuchulam from the centre for gender and African studies at the University of the Free State in his recent paper, Anatomy of Political Violence in South Africa – “another rising phenomenon contributing to the violent crime statistics in the country”.
The latest incident, in Inanda outside Durban, saw three women gunned down last week at an ANC gathering.
The meeting was being called to finalise the list of candidates for the local government elections … and therein lies the truth at the dark heart of political murders.
Politics is the only way to a better life for many people who spend many years slowly wending their way up the ranks of the ANC – and other political organisations – so that, finally, they will have their “time to eat” at the trough of state largesse.
That’s a future worth killing for – as the horrific murder figures show plainly.
KwaZulu-Natal, the most volatile province in the country, has also seen the disappearance of 1.5 million rounds of state firearm ammunition, which will undoubtedly be used to support political warlords in their brutal campaigns.
As the local government elections draw near, it seems to be almost inevitable that the body count in the province will continue to rise.
Until the very ethos of politics changes from “What’s in it for me?” to “What can I do for you, a citizen of thecountry?”, then the killing will continue.
But, worryingly, that change doesn’t look like happening any time soon – or ever.