Growing fears of renewedviolence in KZN

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

There have been calls for KwaZulu-Natal leaders to step in and ensure that peace and stability prevail in the province as the country heads towards national elections next year.

Fears are rife that political violence might resurface in the province after the recent assassination of leaders from both the ANC and IFP.

On Thursday Alpheus Xulu, an ANC councillor in the Abaqulusi municipality, was found shot dead with a male friend.

On Saturday morning Bhekisisa Mthethwa, IFP chairman at Jacobs Hostel, was killed by unknown assailants on his way to work.

Hours later an ANC supporter was shot dead during the launch of the party's campaign in Umlazi.

It is suspected that the ANC supporter was shot by IFP supporters living in the nearby Seventeen Men's Hostel. They had earlier been seen waving IFP flags near Mangosuthu Highway.

The shooting took place while ANC chairman Zweli Mkhize was delivering his keynote address to more than 10000 supporters at King Zwelithini Stadium. The stadium is not far from the hostel.

Police spokesman Captain Khephu Ndlovu confirmed that the suspects ran towards the hostel.

He said while the police were investigating, shots were also fired in their direction.

"We ran after the suspects but we could not catch them because they disappeared into the hostel.

"But we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that we bring whoever is responsible for these deeds to book," Ndlovu said.

Provincial MEC for community safety and liaison Bheki Cele said it was clear that the shooting was politically motivated.

"The people who shot at this supporter and the police ran towards the hostel, which is IFP-dominated."

IFP national chairman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi indicated that Mthethwa's murder was politically motivated.

"I am shocked by the sad news. We have strong suspicions that he was yet another victim of political assassination by our opponents."

"We are concerned with what appears to be a momentum-gaining, calculated campaign to attack our leaders and members."

Yesterday, the ANC leadership was engaged in a meeting. It is believed the attacks formed part of the agenda.