Election of new ANC KZN regional leaders will not curb political killings – analysts
The newly-elected regional leadership of the troubled Harry Gwala region of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal would not end political killings in the region, political analysts suggested on Friday.
The region elected new leaders at an elective conference on Thursday night, even though aggrieved branches sent a letter threatening to go to court over the conference.
At least five ANC officials were shot dead in the region in 2017, including former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa.
Magaqa, who was a councillor in the Umzimkhulu Municipality at the time, died in hospital in September after he was shot on July 13, 2017.
Political analyst Thabani Khumalo told News24 that the provincial ANC leaders should not have "rushed" to elect new leadership in Harry Gwala before solving all the problems the region faced.
"There was negligence on their part, knowing very well that there are still outstanding issues on the ground. They should have gone down to the branches to fix things at branch level," he said.
He added that it didn't help to elect new leaders while problems, such as political killings and looming court challenges, still affected the region.
"There are still many chances of the conflict, which led to political killings, to continue there," he said.
'Not one arrest'
ANC members who testified at the Moerane Commission into political killings in KZN said the killings emanated from fraud and corruption, especially in the Umzimkhulu municipality.
Khumalo suggested that the newly-elected leadership would have a hard time trying to solve the problems in the region.
"The root causes of the killings and corruption are still there, which means they are likely to persist," Khumalo said.
Professor Somadoda Fikeni added that it would not have been wise to go ahead [with the conference] without resolving key issues, but at the same time, "they would not have postponed the conference permanently. Even in the best conferences, you'll always have people who are aggrieved."
Another political analyst Protas Madlala said he didn't think the new leaders would solve the scourge of corruption and killings in the region.
He said he even told the Moerane Commission "face to face" that it was not going to be useful because, "even when it was sitting, people were still being killed there".
"Despite all the revelations there, there has not been even one arrest," he said, adding that he was one of the witnesses at the commission.
Madlala, however, felt it was "a wise move" for the ANC KZN leaders to allow the conference to continue.
"The aggrieved members can go to court, so it makes it [a] decision," he said.
Letter was 'not an interdict'
ANC KZN spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu confirmed that they had received the letter of intent to go to court from the aggrieved members.
"The letter was not an interdict. We believe that we did everything that we were supposed to do in preparation for the conference. That's why we proceeded with the elections at the conference.
"We believe that all the challenges that were presented were addressed. The regional leadership was elected, and we have new leadership in Harry Gwala," she said.
On whether the newly-elected leadership would end political killings in the region, she said the party's position was that the killings of politicians was a criminal act.
"It's an act that the security cluster of government should be dealing with. When we say the leadership of the ANC must be able to deal with the killings, there's an implication that it's the ANC leadership that's killing people. And where we stand we don't have evidence of that."
Simelane-Zulu said the new leadership had a responsibility to bring unity to all its members.
The Moses Mabhida regional conference, which was also supposed to take place on Thursday, was postponed "until further notice".