Moerane Commission: 'Factionalism responsible for murders'

Mphuthumi Mpabanga has unpacked how and when tensions in the Harry Gwala Region began and why the municipality believes warring factions are killing each other.

A delegation from the Umzimkhulu Municipality at the Moerane Commission of Inquiry in Pietermaritzburg. Picture: Ziyanda Ngcobo/EWN

DURBAN - The Moerane Commission of Inquiry investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal has heard that factionalism is responsible for the murders in Umzimkhulu and not corruption linked to the municipal hall.

Officials from the municipality have dismissed claims that former African National Congress Youth League Secretary Sindiso Magaqa's killing was linked to his vocal criticism on the mismanagement of the project.

The Umzimkhulu Mayor Mphuthumi Mpabanga says the allegations are baseless and need to be substantiated with evidence.

Mpabanga has unpacked how and when tensions in the Harry Gwala Region began and why the municipality believes warring factions are killing each other.

He says unsubstantiated allegations made during Magaqa’s funeral have exacerbated an already volatile situation in the area, adding that the documents submitted by Magaqa’s friend Thabiso Zulu are manufactured to create an impression that there’s been mismanagement of the memorial hall project on Umzimkhulu.

“It must be emphasised that all these allegations were completely maliciously faked in order to perpetuate factional tendencies.”

The Umzimkhulu mayor, who's accompanied by members of his council, also says there’s political interference within the police and claims authorities are told who they should and shouldn’t arrest.

Mpabanga says there's a well-orchestrated conspiracy against the municipality.

“I must emphasise that the killings in the municipality’s respective view had nothing to do with the contract relating to the memorial hall, but had everything to do with the factional conflict within the ANC.”

The Umzimkhulu mayor says the council has made a plea to the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal to assist with ensuring political stability but to date no response has been given.

The commission has also heard the provincial ANC has done nothing to restore political stability in the Harry Gwala Region.

Mpabanga said: “There should be political intervention from the upper structures of the ANC including, if needs be, the national executive committee of the ANC.”