Assassination attempt of IFP councillor in KZN - 'a breeding ground for political hitmen'
Weak police intelligence capacity coupled with failure to successfully prosecute politicians behind the murder of their political rivals is complicating the war against political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.
This is the sentiments of KZN violence monitor and researcher Mary de Haas who spoke to Sowetan in the aftermath of an attempted assassination of uKhahlamba municipal speaker Sthembiso Zulu late on Tuesday evening.
“Political killings in this province continue unabated because of the unwillingness and sometimes deliberate failure to arrest and successfully prosecute those who orchestrate these hits. The problem is further exacerbated by the weak intelligence services in the SAPS,” said De Haas.
She said the province was becoming a breeding ground for professional hitmen.
“These are often young men recruited from deep rural areas of the province. They view being hitmen as the only way to escape poverty and to make quick money.”
According to reports, Zulu was ambushed by unknown gunmen on his way home from work. Assailants allegedly blocked the municipal vehicle he was travelling in and fired several shots at him. About 15 shots were allegedly fired which grazed him and left him injured. The other two occupants of the vehicle escaped unharmed.
Zulu’s assassination attempt happens hot on the heels of the murder of IFP councillor Mthembeni Majola who was ambushed and killed last week Friday. Majola was a councillor at Inkosi Langalibalele municipality in the same region. His killers have not been caught.
KZN Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka described the attempt on Zulu’s life as senseless, saying: “Violence and murder directed at public representatives is a worrying trend needing urgent attention.”
Provincial police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbhele confirmed the incident.
“Police are investigating a case of attempted murder after uKhahlamba municipal councillor was shot at by unknown gunmen. According to information at our disposal he was travelling together with two passengers in the Toyota Fortuner when they were ambushed by gunmen at Magaba reserve near Bergville. No arrests have been made and police are investigating,” said Mbhele.