The party says the slow pace of police interventions in curbing political violence in the province is worrisome.
It is of serious and grave concern that the killing of politicians has “become a permanent feature” of the political landscape in KwaZulu-Natal, and the slow pace of police interventions in curbing political violence is worrisome, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said on Sunday.
The IFP had received with shock and sadness the news of the killing of Zakhele Joseph Mazibuko, 44, IFP publicity secretary in the UThukela district, who was shot dead in an ambush between Estcourt and Colenso shortly after leaving an IFP district meeting on Saturday night, IFP spokesman Mkhuleko Hlengwa said.
At the time of his death, Mazibuko was occupational and health manager at the UThukela district municipality, he said.
“While we wish not to speculate on the nature of the reasons of this tragedy, but it is of serious and grave concern that the killing of politicians has become a permanent feature of the political landscape of KwaZulu-Natal.
“The slow pace of police interventions in curbing political violence is overwhelmingly worrisome. The SAPS [South African Police Service] and other law enforcement agencies are clearly weak and poorly capacitated to deal with political violence,” Hlengwa said.
Mazibuko was a committed and dedicated leader of the IFP, who served the community with integrity. The IFP and the community of UThukela had been “robbed by agents of darkness and enemies of peace” of a hardworking servant of the people. “We are indeed poorer because of this untimely loss.”
“This prevailing culture of violence does not bode well for free and fair elections next year that are also free from fear. We call for peace and calm during this time and allow for the investigation to run its full course. The IFP extends its most heartfelt condolences to the Mazibuko family and friends of comrade Zakes,” Hlengwa said.
Mazibuku’s murder comes just days before the final report of the Moerane Commission of inquiry into political killings in the province is to be presented at the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Thursday.
Mazibuko is the second IFP councillor to be killed this year and one of scores of politicians killed in KwaZulu-Natal since 2011, which prompted premier Willies Mchunu to establish the Moerane Commission in October 2016.
In May, IFP PR councillor and Zululand district chairman Samkelo Dlamini was shot dead on the main road in Ulundi. On the same night in an unrelated incident, African National Congress activist and former councillor Musawenkosi Maqatha Mchunu was shot dead as he was exiting his vehicle at kwaPata in the Pietermaritzburg area.
Arrests were made last week for Mchunu’s killing. The six suspects, including an ANC councillor, will appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Thursday.
Although numbers are difficult to confirm, due in part to the definition of a political killing, the ANC told the Moerane Commission in October last year that according to the party’s own calculations, which were based on law enforcement reports, 80 politicians had been killed in the province since 2011.
Thirty people from various political parties had died since the start of 2016, according to the testimony of ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala. The killings included 19 members of the ANC; three members of the IFP; three members of the National Freedom Party; three members of the South African Communist Party; and one member of the Economic Freedom Fighters, said Zikalala.
Murders committed since Zikalala’s testimony shifts the total closer to 90 since 2011. Independent researcher and KwaZulu-Natal violence monitor Mary de Haas has placed the number at over 100 for the same period.
Zakhele Mazibuko‚ from the Inkatha Freedom Party’s uThukela district‚ was killed in an ambush on Saturday night‚ the IFP confirmed on Sunday.
The district’s publicity secretary was attacked between Estcourt and Colenso‚ shortly after leaving a party meeting‚ said Mkhuleko Hlengwa‚ the IFP’s national spokesperson.
“Heartfelt condolences to the family. #SilenceTheGuns‚” Hlengwa tweeted.
The details of the killings are still sketchy.
Hlengwa said more details would be released at a later date.
While it is not yet known if the killing was politically motivated‚ KwaZulu-Natal is currently awaiting the release of the report by the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into political slayings in the province‚ which finished its work earlier this year.
The commission’s report has been completed and is expected to be released by the end of the month.
Source : Sowetan
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