Ongoing political violence a threat to free and fair elections in KZN say political analysts and monitors
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DURBAN - THE recent incidents of alleged politically motivated killings in KwaZulu-Natal, where two councillor candidates have been killed in the space of one week, has the potential to undermine the upcoming local government elections.
This is the view of political analysts and a violence monitor. The experts,however, agree that the prevailing atmosphere doesn’t mean people will not cast their vote on election day.
In the latest political killing, EFF ward councillor candidate Thulani Shangase, 49, was shot twice in broad daylight on Sunday. He was the party’s candidate for ward 20 (Caluza near Edendale) for Msunduzi Municipality.
Shangase is the second councillor candidate killed in KZN in a matter of days. On Friday, ANC candidate for ward 101 in eThekwini, Siyabonga Mkhize was shot dead while on the campaign trail in Cato Crest.
In September, three women were shot dead in a drive-by shooting while attending an ANC meeting in Inanda.
The EFF said the upcoming local government elections in Pietermaritzburg have been marred by violence, threats and intimidation and will not be free and fair following the murder of their candidate councillor.
The EFF’s chairperson in uMgungundlovu, Mzwakhe Mpulo said this pre-election period had been marred by political intolerance, intimidation and now, a murder.
“There have been instances that showed that there is political intolerance. The Edendale area is an area that is giving us problems. You will remember a few weeks ago our President Julius Malema was blocked from campaigning in the area,” said Mpulo.
Shangase’s niece, who declined to be named for safety reasons, said she received a call about the shooting.
“I was the first to get a call that I should rush to the scene, my uncle had been shot, he was shot twice and he died on the scene.
“As a family we are in shock and confused as to what led to this, he had never said there was any political tensions and he was also in the taxi industry, he owned a taxi, but it was repossessed and he now worked with Hlokomela and he never indicated that there were any tensions there either,” she said.
Hlokomela is a taxi industry initiative that monitors compliance and good practices in the industry.
She said Shangase was widowed, as he had recently buried his wife, adding that he left behind 8 children.
DA provincial leader Francois Rodgers said : “It seems some of these killings are related to internal matters and we call on these parties to sort out their differences rather than killing each other.
And we call on the police to deal with those who are behind the killings.”
IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the party was concerned about the political environment that seems volatile and unstable.
Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said: “This pre-election period has not been volatile as it had been expected. I thought there would even be community blockades with people complaining about the non-functioning of municipalities.” He added that incidents of violence have the capacity to undermine free and fair elections.
KZN violence monitor Mary de Haas agreed, saying this year’s pre-election period was much better than 2016. She said the recent killings were a threat to democracy and the police needed to secure convictions in political killings cases.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, said the motive for the killing was unknown.