SEVEN COUNCILLORS have been eliminated through the barrel of a gun in KwaZulu Natal this year alone with the latest killings happening just two weeks ago.
So severe is the situation that in 2016, the provincial government constituted the Moerane Commission to probe the assassination of public representatives in the province.
The investigation’s terms of reference among others was to find out the number, nature and locality of incidents of murders involving politicians both as victims and suspects in the province from 2011.
It also sought to provide insight whether the incidents were linked to political, ethnic, tribal, social or criminal factors.
Four years later, no arrests of high profile political figures have been effected despite the Moerane report fingering politicians as being at the centre of the killings by hiring hitmen to eliminate their opponents.
Inside Metros reporter, Sandile Motha speaks to Thabiso Zulu, former ANC Youth League leader in the Harry Gwala region turned anti-corruption activist and whistle blower.
Zulu was a key witness summoned by the Moerane Commission and has been on the run fearing hitmen who are allegedly hunting him down. Zulu is not enjoying state protection despite numerous calls by social justice organisations demanding that he be put on witness protection programme. Last year, he survived a hit on his life when unknown assailants ambushed and shot him. He survived the ordeal by pretending that he was dead. This was a third attempt on his life.
SANDILE MOTHA: What is your view with regard to the ongoing politically linked killings in the province?
THABISO ZULU: I’m just appalled by the deafening silence and the business as usual approach employed by law enforcement agencies and political leaders particularly, my own party the ANC when innocent people are hunted down like wild animals and killed. As you know it, I’m also in the firing line, my own comrades consider me as a threat to them.
SM: Talking about you being considered a threat and surviving some numerous attempts on your life, are you receiving any protection from the state?
TZ: A security threat assessment was conducted by state intelligence and it proved that some unidentified people were constantly monitoring my movements. That report was made available to the SAPS so that I can be allocated protection, this has not happened and instead my situation has been turned into a political football. So I rely on friends for protection and keep looking over my shoulders. But, so far, I have survived.
SM: Why are you being targeted?
TZ: It’s simple really, my only sin was to take a stand against endemic corruption and the killing of our comrades particularly Sindiso Magaqa who were seen to be challenging the status quo and questioning the conduct of our own comrades stealing from our people. Since then, I and other comrades have been on the run. We are not the only ones who are in danger, but our families too.
SM: ANC political leaders particularly those fighting corruption seem to be targeted, has there been any internal analysis by your party as to what is fuelling this state of affairs?
TZ: All what the ANC does is to issue statements condemning the killings, no proactive action is being done to establish the source and key movers behind the assassinations. In short, there is no political will to get to the bottom of this scourge.
SM: In these incidents trained assassins are used to eliminate their perceived political opponents, are law enforcement authorities doing enough to win the war against the supply and proliferation of what appears to be trained killers in KZN?
TZ: I’m glad that you asked that question, these murders will remain unresolved because even senior investigators within SAPS are in the pockets of politicians. So how can you bite the hand that feeds you? The rot runs deep and there needs to be a total overhaul of the system for any meaningful change to happen.
SM: Two years back, the report on the findings of the Commission probing political linked killings in KZN released it report, were you happy with its work and its subsequent findings?
TZ: I’m not the biggest fan of commissions because I believe they are a waste of public money. Most of them are meant to project a good image that government was doing something, there’s nothing meaningful that usually comes out of them. So the Moerane Commission was the same we risked our lives and gave incriminating evidence to the commission but the evidence was never used to arrest anyone. To this end, no prominent politician has been summoned to court so that the authenticity of the allegations by whistle blowers can be tested. For me, arresting hitmen is not enough. Their job is only to pull a trigger. We want the people responsible for hatching the assassination plan to be the ones facing the music.
(Compiled by Inside Metros staff)