‘Dynamics of political killings have changed in recent times’

At least a dozen people have been killed in politically motivated murders in the past eight months.

The African National Congress (ANC) supporters have started arriving at the Harry Gwala stadium in Pietermaritzburg ahead of the party's Kwazulu-Natal election manifesto launch today. Picture: Rafiq Wagiet/EWN.

DURBAN - At least a dozen people have been killed in politically motivated murders in the past eight months, and the majority of these incidents have occurred in KwaZulu-Natal.

KwaZulu-Natal Violence Monitor Mary de Haas, who has studied political violence in the province for over 30 years, says the dynamics of the murders have changed in recent times.

She says there has been a decrease in inter-party violence, but an increase intra-party violence.

In the early 1990s, much of the political violence in KwaZulu-Natal was essentially about the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) versus the African National Congress (ANC), but 20 years later, the political landscape appears to have changed.

De Haas says much of the political violence now appears to be happening within political parties, mainly the ANC.

"When you get conflict over power it's always about getting your hand on the resources, you want that position so that you can make yourself rich on it."

She says, "This is caused by a fight for power and local council position, and this is about politicians wanting to get their hands on the state resources."

De Haas believes the fight for power and tensions among political parties will intensify in the lead up to 3 August elections.


Meanwhile, the ANC is taking a no tolerance approach to politically motivated murders and violent protests.

President Jacob Zuma addressed a strong crowd of more than 12,000 in Pietermaritzburg at the launch of the ANC's KZN manifesto at the weekend where he condemned the recent spate of politically motivated murders in the province, along with protests which saw one person shot and several protester arrested.

He said the ANC has done its best in recent years to quell the issues.

"People of KwaZulu-Natal know too well the pain brought about by political violence and they've worked very hard to defeat violence and create conditions in which they all live in peace and harmony."

KZN ANC chairperson Sihle Sikalala says they won't allow such behaviour in their ranks.

"Irrespective what these are criminal elements that we're not going to accept to happen in our country and in our province."