Africa

South African candidates targets of 'political murders'

Dozen killings in last 2 months have largely targeted ruling African National Congress members

28.07.2016
South African candidates targets of 'political murders' File photo

South Africa

By Hassan Isilow

JOHANNESBURG

The murders of 12 local politicians in South Africa have raised fears of a campaign of violence and claims of factional fighting within the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The killings in June and July have largely occurred in KwaZulu-Natal province and targeted ANC candidates standing for positions as ward councilors.

“Without a doubt, the ongoing assassinations are political killings orchestrated within the different factions of political parties,” political analyst Andre Duvenhage told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

In a sign of the growing tension surrounding local politics in South Africa, the ANC’s nomination of Thoko Didiza to replace Kgosientso Ramokgopa as mayor of Pretoria in the Aug. 3 election last month led to rioting.

“Local government elections in South Africa have become so competitive,” Sheila Meintjes, a political science professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, said. “People are using politics as a means of survival to obtain resources.”

Meintjes said dissatisfied factions within the ruling party could be behind the murders in KwaZulu-Natal -- with the motive being to replace the murdered candidates with those from a rival group.

However, ANC spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni-Khawe denied the claim. “The African National Congress condemns in the harshest terms any killings of any candidates,” she said. “We’ve committed ourselves to upholding the election codes of conduct.”

Last week, government condemned the killings and promised to establish a commission of inquiry.

Police spokesman Brig. Hangwani Mulaudzi told Anadolu Agency said the killings were not being treated as politically motivated. “We are treating them as any other murders until investigations conclude,” he said, adding that several arrests have been made.

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