Politics editor
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Call to diffuse political tensions

By Clive Ndou

About 20 KZN councillors have been murdered since the start of the five-year term of the current councillors in November 2021.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo. PHOTO: Clive Ndou
ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo. Photo: Clive Ndou

With political murders on the rise in KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC in the province has called for the expansion of the multi-party-political committee responsible for diffusing tensions between political parties.

According to the South African Local Government Association (Salga), about 20 KZN councillors have been murdered since the start of the five-year term of the current councillors in November 2021.

Addressing the media in Durban on Thursday, following an ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting, ANC provincial secretary, Bheki Mtolo, said the killings called for the beefing up of the current multi-party-political committee.

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The PEC … resolved that the council of elders be integrated into this programme. This will focus on inculcating a culture of political tolerance as one of the critical interventions. This will bring in leaders of all political parties inside and outside the legislature.

In its recent report, the inter-ministerial committee looking into political killings in KZN put the number of the province’s councillors who have been murdered since 2018 at 52, with ANC, IFP and NFP being the most affected political parties.

As things stand, two of the three by-elections scheduled to take place in the province before the end of the year had to be called following the assassination of the councillors representing two of the three wards.

The two councillors: Mabhungu Mkhize (Msunduzi Municipality) and Mzwandile Shandu (Mkhambathini Municipality) were both ANC public representatives.

Meanwhile, Mtolo, whose party snatched a ward from the DA during a recent by-election in eThekwini Municipality’s ward 9, said the ruling party (which according to polls is at risk of losing control of KZN in next year’s general elections) did not take the “doomsday” pollsters seriously.

Following the ANC’s resounding victory in the by-election in eThekwini ward 9, political analysts and some sections of the media are still in the state of shock. The agenda is to paint the ANC as the party which is on its deathbed. This will fail.

On the results of eThekwini’s ward 9 by-elections, Mtolo said the outcome was proof that the voters were not convinced by the multi-party charter of SA comprising the DA, IFP and other opposition parties.

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The main objective of parties involved in the multi-party charter of SA was to cut the ANC to below 50% of support in next year’s general elections.

The multi-party charter of SA, Mtolo said, was humiliated during the eThekwini Municipality ward 9 by-election.

The DA has been completely rejected in most of its VDs [voting districts] with the ANC increasing its support by 60% of the voters. By and large, the ANC won over DA, EFF and Action SA votes.

“The decline of the support of the three parties is just an indication that the ANC is the preferred party,” he said.

On whether the ANC in KZN would be picking a coalition partner ahead of next year’s general polls, Mtolo said there was no need for the ruling party to join forces with any of the opposition parties, as the organisation was confident that it will get an outright majority in KZN in next year’s polls.