The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal wants former president Jacob Zuma to lead a team of provincial party leaders to organise KZN’s cleansing ceremony, meant to heal the pain caused by the political violence in the early ’90s.
The political violence, in which mainly ANC and IFP supporters were pitted against each other, is estimated to have claimed 20 000 lives.
Zulu cultural beliefs dictate that any bloodshed should be followed by a cleansing ceremony to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy.
Since the end of the political violence of the ’90s, there has been an increase in isolated cases of political assassinations and other murders, with KZN recording the highest number of murder cases in the country in the 2022/23 crime statistics.
Cultural experts have attributed the current spike in murders and political assassinations to the fact that cleansing rituals were not conducted following the deaths of thousands of people during the ’90s political violence.
ANC provincial spokesperson, Mafika Mndebele, confirmed that the party wants Zuma to lead the province’s cleansing ceremony — which will take place at a date yet to be determined.
The ANC recognises the fact that this province was once ravaged by political violence. Therefore Zuma and all other senior leaders of the ANC will help ensure that the breeze of peace blows throughout the corners of the province as we approach the general elections.
Since the start of the current term of the province’s municipal councillors in November 2021, a total of 19 KZN councillors have been assassinated. In June, ACDP uMhlathuze Municipality councillor John Myaba and IFP Mtubatuba Municipality councillor Innocent Mkhwanazi were killed less than six days apart.
The assassination of the two councillors was followed by that of NFP Nongoma Municipality councillor, Ntombenhle Mchunu, who was shot dead at her Nongoma home.
A week ago, Phathiseni Manqele, another NFP Nongoma Municipality councillor, survived an assassination attempt.
Zuma, who as the country’s deputy president led SA’s mediation efforts in war-torn countries such as Burundi, played an instrumental role in brokering a peace deal between the supporters of the ANC and IFP in the ’90s.
Mndebele said Zuma still had a lot to offer. “He still has a role to play,” he said. In March, IFP founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi said he has been pushing for reconciliation between the ANC and IFP since the ’90s.
There were many meetings held over the years in an attempt to restore a good relationship, but this has not happened. I am now in my 90s, and nothing would give me greater pleasure than if, when I close my eyes for good, there was reconciliation
Buthelezi, who celebrated his 95th birthday on Sunday, is currently recuperating in hospital after being admitted a month ago.