A HIGH-level meeting between political parties in KwaZulu-Natal and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to discuss the upsurge in political killings has failed to prevent the death of yet another politician in the province.
Umtshezi ward councillor Jimmy Lembede was shot dead by unknown assailants at his home on Friday evening, and his wife was wounded. The motive is unknown. There has been a spate of mostly unsolved political killings in KwaZulu-Natal this year, mainly of African National Congress (ANC) and National Freedom Party (NFP) members.
Meanwhile, NFP secretary-general Nhlanhla Khubisa said yesterday the party was happy police had arrested two brothers, both Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) members, in connection with the death last month of NFP leader Mthunzi Gwala, in Umlazi. The two men appeared in the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Mr Khubisa said 24 NFP members had been killed since the party was formed last year.
IFP spokesman Joshua Mazibuko said the IFP abhorred all forms of violence, whoever was responsible. "We are concerned if only one person has been killed. It is a tragedy," he said.
"The ANC is concerned with what seems to be a systematic campaign to eliminate our councillors to reverse the gains of democracy in the province," ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said.
Last week’s multiparty meeting was convened after delegates at the ANC’s tripartite alliance summit in the province called on Mr Mthethwa to establish a task team to investigate the killings.
Community safety MEC Willies Mchunu told the provincial legislature on August 2 there had been an increase in politically-related killings in the second part of last year and this year. Police had reported political instability in Margate, Vryheid, Dundee, KwaMashu, Estcourt, Greytown, KwaDukuza and Umlazi’s T section, he said.