How Zuma and the ANC power tussle is costing lives


In September 2012, Chairman of the African National Congress (ANC) in the Oshabeni, Port Shepstone area, Dumisani Malunga, Dumisani Malunga, was killed because he was a “stumbling block” to the election of Sifiso Khumalo’s as ward councillor. Khumalo, an ANC Youth League branch leader, plead guilty to this crime, claiming that when he realised he was unlikely to win the election, he followed through on a suggestion by a fellow party member to eliminate his competition, Malunga.

Assassination has become part of South Africa’s internal political dynamics as evidence increasingly suggests that each month there is at least one political related killing in S.A with motives similar to that of Khumalo. Last week, Mbuyiselo Dokolwane, an ANC councillor, and chairman of the ANC Freedom Park branch was shot dead in Freedom Park, Johannesburg, as he was returning from a branch meeting. A spokesman for the ANC stated that he was ambushed and shot four times at close range.

Late last year, ANC lost three of its councillors in three consecutive months; October saw the killing of Muziwendoda Ncwane, ANC councillor in the Vulamehlo Municipality. He was attacked in his home by two gunmen and shot dead. Fundisile Nqinelo, another ANC councillor was shot seven times by armed men in November. A month later, another ANC leader, Siphiwe, councillor for greater Zola in Soweto was killed during what was staged like a robbery. Zulu was serving his third term as councillor.

The ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, once admitted to the crude and violent nature of internal party dynamics when he said that the selection process for council candidates is “always a life and death issue.” An article by the New York Times indicates that part of the reason for the rampant killings even over the lowest seat at SA’s political table is fuelled by “poverty, deep inequality and widespread unemployment plaguing the country.”

Citizens’ clamour for political posts because they see it as a way out of poverty; and as the ruling party, one that is rife with corruption. Securing a position in the ANC means kickbacks and contracts. Ward councillors have the power to influence the awarding of government contracts gaining from bribes and secret deals. As members of the party jostle for the smallest political post to fill their pockets, they find the fastest means of ridding anyone that poses a threat to their goals of self-enrichment. As Gareth Van Onselen of Business Day Live puts it, at the local government level, democratic choice and death often sit side by side.

The ANC seems to have lost its way under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma. Since Zuma assumed office in 2009, the rate of unemployment has rapidly increased; as at 2012, the number of unemployed South Africans had grown by about 1.4 million. Unfortunately, the ruling government appears to be toeing the path of the former administration by entrenching practices that led to former President Thabo Mbeki’s ousting. Zuma gradually became the final authority on everything- an opportunity which may have caused the party and South Africa more harm than good.

Besides allegations of corruption, and nepotism, President Zuma has been deemed incompetent. His inability to manage the economy and make right decisions, has landed the country in its present state, one that is not of enviable status. Still the ANC, riddled with mindless sycophants, has decided to keep him in power. These issues fuelled the #ZumaMustFall protest, turned movement, which has frustrated citizens clamouring for Zuma’s descent from power. No doubt, SA will have one of its most volatile elections this year; South Africans are enraged, the ruling party is a ticking time bomb, and to an extent, the official opposition poses a serious threat.

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