Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Political killings: Concern over politicians’ inflammatory language

The local government oversight body in KZN has questioned the effectiveness of the police.

The South African Local Government Association (Salga) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has expressed concern over political killings as this year’s elections edge closer.

‘Killings a direct attack on democracy’

Speaking in a media briefing, KZN Salga chairperson Thami Ntuli said the sudden surge in political killings was “worrying”.

“What is increasing our worry as Salga in KwaZulu-Natal is the heavily contested political reign in the province [which] has a history of black-on-black violence,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Ntuli said utterances made by politicians as they campaign for the 2024 national and provincial elections were adding fuel to fire.

ALSO READ: Concerns mount over political killings ahead of 2024 elections

“What is also not helping is some of our political leaders who are using inflammatory language during their campaign instead of sticking to political diplomacy while wooing voters, thus, the incidents of the past few weeks are worrying and something should be done by the police and those in power to arrest this situation.

“If we fail to act now, we will become like countries like Colombia where politicians are killed everyday,” the Salga provincial chair said.

He also said the fact that no one has been arrested for any of the four killings that happened in parts of KZN last month raised concerns about the effectiveness of the police.

“In countries where law enforcement officers are effective, these cases would have been cracked long ago and the alleged killers facing justice,” Ntuli continued.

Watch: KZN Salga chairperson Thami Ntuli on political killings

Ntuli further questioned whether the victims were likely to see any justice.

“We all know that out of the many councillors killed since the current term of office that started in 2021, only a few cases are in court. The rest have virtually become cold cases.

“All these political killings should be viewed as a direct attack on our democratic system. They are meant to weaken and render them ineffective. Killers and their handlers have turned politicians into sitting ducks and instilled fear in municipal workers who dare stand up when they see acts of corruption.”

He added: “The brazenness of the criminals who kill them shows that they knew there will not be any consequences for their actions.”

Recent murders

The Salga provincial chair, meanwhile, cited the recent murders of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) members Mthokozisi Sithole and Ndukenhle Duma.

“These shows us that killers are prepared to even kill our children,” Ntuli added.

Duma was shot dead in KZN last week.

The provincial South African Police Service (Saps) revealed that the Nongoma Local Municipality councillor was ambushed in a suspected hit on the R618, while attending to a vehicle breakdown.

Four children were shot – including two who died as a result of their injuries.

READ MORE: Former ANC councillor sentenced to two life terms for killing political rivals

Meanwhile, Sithole was laid to rest earlier this month.

The IFP Mbabazane interim secretary was gunned down in Weenen on 27 January.

According to statistics issued by Police Minister Bheki Cele last year, at least 155 political figures were assassinated between 2011 and September 2023.

The Moerane Commission, which was established in 2016 to investigate political killings in KZN, previously heard evidence that some of the murders were related to corruption in the local government sector.

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