Cosatu condemns KZN political killings

15 May 2018 - 10:57 By Jeff Wicks
COSATU demonstrator waving their red COSATU flag
COSATU demonstrator waving their red COSATU flag
Image: Gallo Images

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has joined the chorus condemning a new wave of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

Pietermaritzburg ANC councillor Musawenkosi Mqatha Mchunu was killed by unknown assailants on Friday night‚ a day after he called for the elective conference in the Moses Mabhida region to be postponed.

Mqatha’s death came days after ANC activist Sifiso Cele was murdered on the South Coast in front of his family. Two weeks prior Nombuso Mqadi‚ from the same branch as Cele‚ was gunned down.

In response to the rising body count‚ ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and a top-level party delegation visited Mchunu’s home on Monday. He later met with provincial executives of the ANC.

He said the killings were a matter of national concern and that he was awaiting a report from the Moerane Commission‚ set up to look into politically motivated killings in the province.

Cosatu provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize urged the law enforcement agencies to work arrest the perpetrators. “As we speak we have bodies of comrades lying cold in mortuaries while others were just buried in the past weekends‚” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“These killings can be blamed to the persisting factionalism in the (ANC) movement in particular‚ especially in the build-up [to] and [after] branch‚ regional and provincial conferences‚” he added.

“We appreciate that [the] top-six leadership of the ANC has decided to descend to our province to address this issue. But we want to equally caution the movement on being reactionary on such matters; there must be pro-activeness in dealing with these troubles‚” Mkhize said.

The province has been beset by infighting between pro-Ramaphosa supporters and those who support former president Jacob Zuma.

At the heart of the infighting are factions which existed before the party’s elective conference last December‚ which resulted in disputes being raised by some ANC branches in KwaZulu-Natal. There were even suggestions by pro-Ramaphosa supporters for the provincial elective conference‚ which is expected to take place before the end of May‚ to be postponed until after next year’s general elections.

Four regions have been identified by the party as problematic. eThekwini‚ Harry Gwala‚ Lower South Coast and Moses Mabhida have been given the label because of their failure to deal with infighting.

Sihle Zikalala‚ who supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma ahead of the Nasrec conference‚ has emerged as the frontrunner to win the ANC's provincial chairmanship. The pro-Ramaphosa faction is believed to support former eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo to contest Zikalala at the conference.