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Political murders must be resolved beyond ANC elective conference: Amnesty International

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Beyond the elective conference the new leadership of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) must ensure accountability for political killings and assassinations nationwide‚ says Amnesty International South Africa (AISA).

“Over the past three years‚ politically motivated killings have reached appalling levels in different parts of the country‚ with KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) predominantly accounting for most murders and assassinations‚” said Shenilla Mohamed‚ executive director of AISA.

“The incoming leadership of the ANC must use their power to ensure prompt‚ thorough‚ transparent and impartial investigations into these preventable assassinations‚ and that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials. The leadership must also address the root causes of the violence and ensure the right to an effective remedy and reparation for victims and their families‚ as well as guarantees of non-repetition.”

In July this year‚ former ANC Youth League General Secretary Sindiso Magaqa was shot 15 times outside a store in Umzimkhulu in the area in KZN. He later died in hospital from his wounds. Magaqa had exposed corruption in the Umzimkhulu Municipality.

On 30 August‚ an ANC councillor in the Mkhambathini Municipality in the KZN Midlands‚ Kwazi Mkhize‚ was shot dead by an unknown assailant outside the Nkanyezini Community Hall.

Mohamed said political killings and violence were not new to South Africa. The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) estimates that there were at least 600 politically motivated killings between 1996 and 2016‚ she noted.

Politicians occupying political offices‚ she added‚ are often targeted for killings as a result of rivalries for positions or for their non-tolerance to corruption. According to SALGA‚ since 2011‚ more than 43 councillors have been killed while 24 others were injured.

Mohamed said South African Police Service (SAPS) figures supported SALGA’s findings. In the last eight years‚ 45 councillors were killed nationwide‚ of which 24 were in KZN province.

“We are especially concerned with the concentration of murders in KZN‚ in particular at Glebelands hostel in Durban. Since January 2014‚ over 55 people have been killed with only 14 arrests made‚ and the killings continue. This is utterly unacceptable‚” said Mohamed.

“Something meaningful must urgently be done about ending political assassinations in South Africa because they threaten the entire human rights environment in the country. High-level political leadership is critically needed to protect the right to life and the safety and security of everyone‚ including politicians‚ political candidates and civil servants.”

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