Newly appointed KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu (right) sits with President Jacob Zuma at a National Prayer Day gathering in Durban on Sunday. Picture: THULI DLAMINI
Newly appointed KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu (right) sits with President Jacob Zuma. Picture: THULI DLAMINI

KWAZULU-Natal premier Willies Mchunu is consulting with political parties, church leaders and nongovernmental organisations before appointing a commission of inquiry into political killings in province, in the period leading to the August 3 local government polls.

At least 20 leaders and members of the different political parties were murdered in the six months prior to the elections.

These included 12 ANC candidates and members, three from the IFP, three from the National Freedom Party and two from the South African Communist Party.

Last week the KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet approved the formation of the inquiry to be established in terms of section 127 (2) (e) of the Constitution of the Republic of SA, 1996 and section 2 (1) of KwaZulu-Natal Commissions Act of 1999.

Ndabe Sibiya, spokesperson for the premier, said on Monday the provincial government was concerned at the recent increase in political killings.

"The premier has begun the process of setting up this commission of inquiry. He will be talking to different political party leaders this week individually and through a multi-party intervention committee that was set up to ease tension and identify problem areas.

The aim would be to get buy-in and input on the composition of the commissioners and the terms of reference.

"The premier is of the view that this commission is sorely needed in the province so that politically motivated killings can be stopped once and for all. He believes that there should be no more orphans, widows and widowers because of political murders," Sibiya said.

Bheki Mngomezulu, an independent political analyst and the CEO of the Mzala Nxumalo Centre, said the commission could disclose the underlying causes of political killings in the province, provided it was made up of credible, nonpartisan individuals and its terms of reference were adequate.

"It has to be people who have no association with the government or have political baggage or (are) partisan. I guess it could be led by a retired judge and should also have people with investigating experience so that they would not worsen volatile situations in hot-spot areas like Inchanga," he said.