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Mchunu: Role of the church, traditional leaders in peacemaking undermined

The former premier says that during the height of apartheid, the ANC never viewed the IFP as the enemy but understood that the apartheid state masterminded the violence.

Former KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu arrives at the Moerane Commission of Inquiry investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Ziyanda Ngcobo/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu has told the Moerane Commission of Inquiry that the role of the church and traditional leaders in peacemaking processes is often undermined.

The commission is investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mchunu is testifying in his personal capacity and not as the ousted leader of the provincial government.

He outlined his background in student activism that eventually resulted in his full-time involvement in politics.

The former premier says that during the height of apartheid, the African National Congress (ANC) never viewed the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) as the enemy but understood that the apartheid state masterminded the violence.

He says that previously, the violence would be between political parties but now the political murders are centred around the ANC.

“We still need a biannual gathering where we meet as role players in the province with the objective of intensifying peace, understanding and broadening the understanding of democracy in our province.”

Mchunu also says political killings in KwaZulu-Natal have been fueled by a sense of entitlement among some.

He says becoming a councillor is easy despite the kind of access it gives to tenders and other state resources

“When you become a councillor, you are in a close proximity for awarding tenders either formally or informally - directly or indirectly, so it has benefits.”

Mchunu says once you become a councillor – you automatically become part of the political ladder which means you are next in line to benefit from patronage.

“The other factor in the competition is the syndrome which we can call ‘my or our turn to eat has come’.”