Daily Maverick

45 councillors killed since 2009 – Mbalula

Cape Town – A total of 45 councillors have been killed since 2009, a parliamentary reply from the police minister revealed on Thursday.

Political murders have gained much media attention recently following a number of high-profile murders since the 2016 local government elections, including that of former ANC Youth League secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, who died in September.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Sibonakaliso Mhlongo asked Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, in a parliamentary question, how many councillors had been killed in each province from 2009 to the present day, effectively the period of President Jacob Zuma’s administration.

Mbalula responded that, in the eight-year period ending August 31, five councillors in the Eastern Cape, one in the Free State, four in Gauteng, seven in Mpumalanga, three in the North West, one in the Western Cape, and an astounding 24 councillors in KwaZulu-Natal, had been killed.

Killings took place in at least 18 municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal alone.

A total of 62 arrests had been made in connection with these murders in the same period.

By province, three arrests were made in the Eastern Cape, three in the Free State, six in Gauteng, 15 in Mpumalanga, four in North West, and 31 in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mbalula did not elaborate on how advanced the investigations into these 62 cases were.

The Moerane Commission of Inquiry has been investigating political killings this year in KwaZulu-Natal.

They were urged in September to go to Umzimkhulu, where four of the 24 murders in the province took place, including that of 35-year-old Magaqa, who died at a Durban hospital in September following an alleged assassination attempt on July 13.

Also in the district, speaker Khaya Thobela was shot dead, former councillor Khaya Mgcwaba was gunned down in May, and councillor Mduduzi Tshibase was killed at his home, also in May.

In 2016, two other KwaZulu-Natal ANC councillors were reported murdered in July and December, while an NFP councillor was also killed in March in the province.

In Gauteng, an ANC councillor was shot and killed after attending a branch meeting in Freedom Park, Johannesburg, in February 2016.

Political analysts and witnesses who have testified at the Moerane Commission, led by Advocate Marumo Moerane, said most of the killings were related to competition over political positions.

This week, a former ANCYL regional secretary, whose name is known to News24, told the commission that he had tried numerous times to fight corruption, but “was let down by police”.

He told mourners at Magaqa’s memorial service in September that Magaqa was killed because he had documents that would have exposed corruption in the Umzimkhulu municipality.

He is expected to continue his testimony. DM

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