With about 14 days to keenly contested local elections in South Africa, two councillor candidates for the ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) have been shot dead in a space of 12 hours.
The death of the two, 40-year old Bongani Skhosana, candidate for Harding on the south coast and Khanyisile Ngobese Sibisi (Ladysmith in the Midlands) brings the number of ANC candidates killed to fifteen since the beginning of the year.
A party official, Mluleki Ndobe, condemned the killings and asked party loyalists to still vote for the slain candidates.
This is criminality and hooliganism and this will never be allowed in both the society and in the ANC, and if it is associated with our structures, we are going to root out any criminality within our ranks.
“This is criminality and hooliganism and this will never be allowed in both society and in the ANC, and if it is associated with our structures, we are going to root out any criminality within our ranks.”
“We cannot really understand that this can be associated with politics because in politics you differ politically, but there is no reason that can justify the killing,” he added.
Kwazulu Natal (KZN), the region where the ANC has the most support with over 60% of the vote in the last provincial elections in 2014, was the scene of most of these crimes. On Tuesday, the party’s base in the region called for the establishment of a commission of inquiry to clarify the circumstances of the latest attacks.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal says the killing of its candidates will give unfair advantage to other parties during the municipal elections.— SAfm news (@SAfmnews) July 20, 2016
In late May and early June, three party activists were shot dead within one week in the province. A blacklist was also discovered with names of people to be killed.
The local polls in the rainbow nation would largely pit three main parties looking to dominate local governance. The ruling ANC would face the Democratic Alliance (DA) and also the militant Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The EFF is led by a former youth leader of ANC, Julius Malema.
The ANC, faces a stiff test come August 3 with the DA and EFF hoping to capitalize on a poorly performing economy and allegations of corruption against the ANC and president Zuma especially.
To many political observers, instances of killing may not be new in South Africa, however it is amplified with the divisions within the ruling party.
“This is not the ANC that kills people but of corrupt people within the ANC who want the monopoly of power”, Themba Mpila, Councillor of the ANC to Pienaar, Mpumalaga city is reported to have said.
“We are concerned that as we near local government elections we are losing our ward candidates. What is more saddening is this cowardly act of the killing of our comrades in front of children,” a provincial secretary added.