Zulu king lashes out at costly commission into KZN violence

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.
Image: Khaya Ngwenya

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has questioned the establishment of the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal and has argued that intra-party killings were not politically motivated but acts of criminality.

“Even though I don’t have a problem with the commission‚ my question is whether people will stop killing each other because there is a commission. Has that ever happened?” said Zwelithini.

The commission‚ which has been sitting for about a year‚ was initially estimated to cost about R15-million.

He said he raised similar questions during the Judge Alexander Commission of Inquiry into taxi violence in 2001. That commission was appointed by Cabinet following incidents of taxi violence in the province which claimed many lives.

“Even then the commission sat‚ and recommendations were made‚ but even today people are still being killed in the taxi industry‚” he said.

Delivering his keynote address at the official opening of the KZN legislature at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday‚ the king said there was no need for the government to spend millions of rands through commissions in an effort to build peace.

He warned that it was dangerous to “carelessly describe” the killings in KwaZulu-Natal as “political murders or political violence”.

“As I have argued in other platforms‚ there is always a danger in glorifying what‚ in my view‚ are clearly acts of criminality. One of the legal definitions of political murder is the unlawful use of force or violence against people or property in order to coerce or intimidate a government or civilian population in furthering of political or social objectives.

“On the other hand‚ political violence is a common means used by people and governments around the world to achieve political goals. Many groups and individuals believe that their political systems will never respond to their political demands. As a result‚ they believe that violence is not only justified but also necessary in order to achieve their political objectives‚” said Zwelithini.

He then asked: “How does a murder orchestrated by a greedy tenderpreneur who hires killers to remove a stumbling block to riches becomes political?”

The king said he understood that the political killings had triggered fears that the province might be plunged to the deadly political violence during the late 80s and early 90s‚ but cautioned against diagnosing the current situation along those lines.

“So what is the real situation here? Is it true that since 1994 there has been peace in South Africa? Do people really believe that the absence of war means peace? If parties in conflict can negotiate peace‚ is it fair for commentators to blame political murder and violence on the police or the justice system and is it possible to deploy police at party branch meetings so as to prevent intra-party killings knowing that some killings happen during or just after such meetings?

“These are the questions that I always ask myself‚ that we need to answer honestly without succumbing to political gimmick and academic grandstanding. And it is normally the case when these issues are raised.”

During its evidence before the Moerane Commission on Friday last week‚ the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) also tore into the establishment of the commission‚ saying there were no political killings in the province but intra-party killings within ANC for resources.

The red berets also warned the commission‚ which expected to submit its report by April‚ not to bury the ANC intra-party killings as political to absolve the people on the basis that they were acting politically when committing murders.

The commission‚ chaired by Advocate Marumo Moerane‚ and established by KZN Premier Willies Mchunu to investigate the underlying cause behind political killings has concluded most of its public hearings and will soon be compiling its report.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.