This killing speaks volumes about thepolitical climate
The shooting of Shaheed Omar, the nephew of the late ANC leader Dullah Omar, in Cape Town on Thursday night highlights the violence that is endemic in South Africa and particularly in the gang - ravaged Western Cape.
Omar ’s death is doubly concerning because of the circumstances of the incident and the charged political atmosphere.
His shooting came only days after the Omar family had issued a statement asking that a march in support of President Jacob Zuma during the no-confidence vote by an ANC branch which bears Omar’s name be disassociated from Omar.
The timing of Shaheed Omar’s shooting and that his assailants took nothing from him has led to speculation it might have been a politically motivated hit, although his family say they doubt this.
But that such speculation has arisen at all is telling as it speaks volumes about the prevailing climate.
Political assassinations are on the rise in KwaZulu-Natal where 33 political killings have occurred since January last year even as a state-sponsored commission of inquiry probes the underlying cause of the murders.
The Moerane Commission has heard evidence that hitmen in Durban count politicians and the taxi industry among their major clients, underlining the links between criminal networks and politics.
There have long been suspicions that similar links between gangs and political parties exist in the Western Cape too.
True or not, such reports add grist to the rumour mill such as that which surrounds Shaheed Omar’s murder.
It is sad that more than 20 years into our democracy many believe opponents of those in political power could fall, not at a ballot box, or to the strength of an argument, but to a bullet from a gun.