It's the ANC's call on mayors, murders

24 March 2019 - 00:00 By QAANITAH HUNTER and ZIMASA MATIWANE

Two KwaZulu-Natal ANC mayors who were arrested this week for the murders of party members may be removed from their positions and taken off the party lists.
This is the recommendation of the party's provincial working committee. The recommendation is an attempt to improve the party's image as it goes into its toughest election, especially in KwaZulu-Natal.
A former ANC provincial deputy secretary and Harry Gwala district mayor, Mluleki Ndobe, was arrested for the murder of ANC Youth League leader Sindiso Magaqa.
On Friday, Ntuthuko Mahlaba, the mayor of Newcastle, was arrested for the murder of another ANC Youth League leader, Wandile Ngobeni.
Both arrests were made by a police task team assembled to solve political killings.
According to a report by the minister of co-operative governance, Zweli Mhkize, 34 political killings have been reported in KwaZulu-Natal since 2012.
It is believed that more party leaders could be arrested soon.
Sources said the proposal to fire Ndobe and Mahlaba had the support of the majority within the provincial ranks of the party.
"It is the right thing to do … People will be removed from their positions because as a mayor you were appointed by the [provincial executive]. If you are implicated in murder and charged, you must step aside," said an executive member.
"They will be removed from the list to parliament and then people on the list will just be bumped up."
He said that when an ANC regional secretary in Greater KwaDukuza, Musa Zondi, had been charged with murder, he was asked to step aside.
"People are claiming this is a political ploy, but what the [provincial working committee] was saying is that you must step aside and deal with your case in court," the source said.
ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said the provincial executive committee would meet this weekend and could comment on any decision only this week.
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The ANC Youth League in the province has called on the party to deal decisively with "criminality that is hurting the image of the organisation".
The youth league's provincial secretary, Thanduxolo Sabelo, said the decision of the league to ask the ANC to remove from leadership positions in the party and deployments in government all those accused of murder was aimed at alienating individuals.
"All members of the ANC join the organisation voluntarily and if any of their actions or purported actions are harming the ANC, they must be in a position to be selfless and step aside from leading and representing the ANC in government because deployment is not a right, but a privilege. We deploy those whom we want to represent the ANC," Sabelo said.
The ANC could no longer harbour accused criminals, he said.
Asked if the youth league was not concerned that the removal of leaders who had not been convicted could be used to settle political scores, Sabelo said the league was confident in the criminal justice system, that it could separate real criminals from anyone falsely accused.
"This should be extended to all sorts of crimes, but at the moment we are dealing with a spate of political killings in our province. [It] is a serious matter, has taken away lives, affected families and affected the image of the ANC.
"So once that role is conflicted, that you representing the ANC is also harming the ANC, the organisation must act in its best interests and remove you," Sabelo said.
Mahlaba was arrested after he had complained to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate about the conduct of the police task team. The Sunday Tribune reported last month that an affidavit was given to the directorate, claiming the police were planning to link Mahlaba to the murder to embarrass him before his inauguration as mayor.
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