|[Published: Tuesday November 14 2023]
South Africa: political contract killings escalate in KZN as hitmen offered ‘job after job’
JOHANNESBURG, 14 Nov. - (ANA) - Contract killings are escalating in South Africa, especially in the volatile province of KwaZulu-Natal, where trained assassins have been making their presence felt in the taxi industry, across the political spectrum, over tenders and jobs in municipalities, and in other areas such as business, to settle disputes through the barrel of a gun, writes Chris Makhaye in the Daily Maverick.
On Saturday, 4 November, hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their last respects at the sombre and emotional funeral of Inkosi Siphamandla Khumalo (41), a popular chief of the Qomintaba clan in northern KwaZulu-Natal, and his wife Thuthukile. Khumalo had played leadership roles in various local traditional structures and the murders are believed to be linked to the positions of power he had held.
The couple died on 28 October when they were ambushed by unknown assassins while driving near Utrecht. Their four-year-old son survived. The killers are still at large.
These murders came less than two weeks after Police Minister Bheki Cele extolled the good work the police were doing in arresting those responsible for the numerous political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.
But the deaths continue. On Friday, 3 November, an acting senior manager in the eThekwini metro’s water and logistics department was gunned down by unknown gunmen who ambushed him at his home in Mandeni on the north coast.
Contract killings are escalating in South Africa, especially in the volatile province of KwaZulu-Natal, where trained assassins have been making their presence felt in the taxi industry, across the political spectrum, over tenders and jobs in municipalities, and in other areas such as business, to settle disputes through the barrel of a gun.
In politics, these organised hits have become commonplace. In August, Mabhungu Mkhize (45), an ANC councillor in the Msunduzi Local Municipality (Pietermaritzburg) was shot and killed in Imbali. Three men were arrested hours after the murder and later appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates’ Court, where they withdrew their bail application.
In July, a well-known IFP leader and councillor in the uMkhanyakude District Municipality, Innocent “Killer” Mkhwanazi (43), was shot and killed by unknown gunmen, who are still at large. His killing is believed to have been politically motivated.
Also in July, National Freedom Party councillor Ntombenhle Mchunu (75) was sleeping in her home in Nongoma when gunmen broke in during the night and shot her. She died on the scene. A granddaughter who was with her survived with serious injuries.
Mchunu was serving in the volatile Nongoma Local Municipality, where power is constantly changing hands from an IFP-led coalition to an ANC-led coalition. Council meetings are now held virtually as councillors live in fear of being assassinated.
Some of the other high-profile killings in the province include the 2017 murder of former ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, a councillor in the Umzimkhulu Local Municipality who had questioned irregular expenditure.
For the rest of the article, visit: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2023-11-11-assassination-nation-political-contract-killings-escalate-in-kzn-as-hitmen-are-offered-job-after-job/ - (ANA) -
AB/ANA/14 November 2023 — - -