DA Councillor Gunned Down – True, South Africa’s murder rate is alarming just as the rate of political assassinations in post-apartheid South Africa is stupefying.
Not long past, we reported that almost half a million people have been murdered in South Africa since the country became a democratic nation.
The report which was culled from a survey conducted by the Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR) revealed that South Africa has witnessed about 445,835 murders between April 1994 and March 2016.
DA Councillor Gunned Down In Cape Town
BuzzSouthAfrica has confirmed that a DA councillor, Xolile Gwanxu was ambushed and shot dead by unknown assailants last night.
From our gatherings, the councillor was shot after he facilitated a meeting which was held at his office in the local community hall. It’s said that his killers shot him while he was locking up the venue after the meeting.
The Democratic Alliance party said it is “deeply saddened and shocked by the fatal shooting of…(the) councillor in the greater Philippi area.
“(He is) a long-standing DA member, a well-known and respected leader in the area he served, and he did so with honourable commitment and determination.
“(We welcome) the police’s investigation into the matter and we hope the perpetrator or perpetrators will soon be apprehended. Our thoughts are with his family during this sad time,” stated the party.
Sadly, councillor Gwanxu is just one of the many victims of political assassination in post-apartheid South Africa. The country witnessed much of these killings in 2016 as citizens were getting set for the local government elections.
It was so ugly a special police task team was established to investigated and strive to prevent further killings. The Police Minister then, Nkosinathi Nhleko issued a statement that said:
“We have noted with serious concern the incidents of killings, particularly where political figures are victims or where the killings are being linked to the upcoming local government.
A situation like this cannot be allowed to continue, especially in the context of democracy.”
A popular sentiment about political assassinations in South Africa says it’s a product of internal battle for power within the country’s ruling party – the African National Congress (ANC).
One can’t say the sentiment is unfounded for various reasons. To cite an instance, two ANC councillors were convicted of murder after the killing of Thuli Ndlovu.
But then, there are political assassinations that had nothing to do with the ANC and its internal battles. Whichever way, the following are the facts about political assassinations in South Africa.
Facts About Political Assassinations In South Africa
1. Mpumalanga is notorious but KwaZulu-Natal is the home of political killings
Did you know that more than 90% of political killings in post-apartheid South Africa happened in KwaZulu-Natal? This is according to a 2014 report by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).
While KwaZulu-Natal province accounts for an overwhelming majority of these killings, records have strongly associated political assassinations with Mpumalanga.
The persistence of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal has been attributed to the growth of paramilitary forces in the province and the manner the forces were used in establishing and maintaining territorial control.
2. It’s not like the political killings during apartheid
It can’t be said that the political killings in post-apartheid South Africa are worse than during apartheid. However, one can argue that this phenomenon is more disturbing in post-apartheid South Africa as the country is no longer fighting to attain freedom.
Disregarding that, political killings during apartheid was different. Then, political violence and killings took multiple forms and the circumstances that led to deaths happened in numerous open clashes between armed groups, demonstrations and incidents of ‘necklacing’.
3. Current-day political killings are triggered by local conflicts and rivalries
Now, political killings in South Africa takes the form of targeted killings of specific individuals.
Other times, supporters of a political party are killed just to intimidate members of that party.
There are also instances where politicians orchestrate the killings of civilians who they believe are a threat to their power. Some South Africans would cite the Marikana tragedy as one of those instances.
4. The conviction rates for political killings are like a licence for more killings
The aforementioned ISS 2014 report suggested that less than 10% of political killings in South Africa resulted in a conviction.
This made a researcher opine that some South Africans are starting to believe that the poor conviction rates are like a general licence for political killings.
Reward For Information on Gwanxu’s Murder
The Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille offered a R50,000 reward for information on the murder of the DA councillor.
De Lille vowed to do all she can and work with the authorities to ensure that the perpetrator faces the full might of the law.