Don’t be intimidated, says government after three KZN ANC members shot dead

Police minister Bheki Cele at the home of Beatrice Nzama in Inanda.
Police minister Bheki Cele at the home of Beatrice Nzama in Inanda.
Image: Orrin Singh

As fears mount over further bloodshed due to political violence in the build-up to municipal elections, the government has called on citizens and political candidates not to be “intimidated” by violent thugs.

The call comes on the back of a wave of attacks and killings around the country after the date for local government elections was set for Nov. 1, with voter registration taking place this weekend.

On Monday police minister Bheki Cele, accompanied by his deputy Cassel Mathale and deputy state security minister Zizi Kodwa, visited the families of three ANC members who were gunned down in a drive-by shooting in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday.

Ncami Shange, 34, Beatrice Nzama, 60, and Philisiwe Jili, 37, were shot and killed when a the five occupants in a black Opel Corsa bakkie opened fire on a group of people at a political gathering outside Buhlebethu Primary School on Sithole Road in Inanda Newtown C section.

At least five others were injured and taken to hospital.

Addressing the media at the crime scene outside the school on Tuesday, Cele said the task team assigned to investigate political killings will look into the case.

He revealed the police had leads on the perpetrators who had committed an act that was a clear sign of intimidation leading up to local government elections.

Police need to find out why a group of people came here in a bakkie to intimidate people. Was it pure criminality or were they doing it on behalf of somebody?
Police minister Bheki Cele

“Clearly the person who committed this terrible sin was more for intimidating the system rather than targeting a particular person or candidate. Police need to find out why a group of people came here in a bakkie to intimidate people. Was it pure criminality or were they doing it on behalf of somebody?”

Kodwa said the act was an attack on the constitution and democratic order.

“It’s an attack on the constitution because these are the people who are exercising their right in terms of the constitution to elect a leader of their choice and to participate in the elections.”

He said the justice, crime prevention and security cluster (JCPS) had put together a plan to protect the electoral system and not just political parties.

“It’s the responsibility of the JCPS that such acts of intimidation do not trump over the constitution. We must protect the constitution and protect our democracy.”

Saturday’s shooting comes two weeks after 12 people were shot and killed in Umlazi’s U and W sections in what sources claim was a drug-related matter. Cele said the police had yet to make any arrests regarding the shooting in Umlazi.

Last week co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced the dates for local government elections. Dlamini-Zuma said applications for special votes will open on September 20 and close on October 4.

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