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Submission by the IFP to the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into Political Violence in KwaZulu-Natal

Advocate Marumo Moerane SC
Moerane Commission of Inquiry

c/o The Secretary: Mr SA Mdledle
Mdledle Inc.
Ground Floor, Shackleton House
187 Hoosen Haffejee Street

via email [email protected]

Dear Adv. Moerane,

In announcing the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry into Political Violence in KwaZulu Natal, on 27 October 2016, Premier Willies Mchunu declared that the Commission would investigate and report on the perceptions of, among others, “political parties”, in respect firstly of the underlying causes of murder and attempted murder involving politicians, and secondly of the effectiveness of the policing thereof.

While a few individual members of the IFP have appeared before the Commission, they have not done so as representatives of the Party, but rather in respect of their personal experience of limited incidents. The IFP therefore believes that we, as a party, should be granted the opportunity to make a full submission to the Commission.

We do this cognisant of the fact that the IFP has long been a protagonist in the Province’s struggle with political violence and political assassinations. This is not a new phenomenon. Consequently, it would be impossible to fully understand the causes, undercurrents and significance of political murders since 2011 without accurate knowledge of what transpired prior to 2011 in terms of political violence.

The full background to political violence in KwaZulu Natal has been captured in an academic study by Dr Anthea Jeffery, titled “People’s War”. It draws the unavoidable conclusion that the IFP became a target of political violence; a conclusion supported by the finding of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that, “…the ANC was responsible for killings, assaults and attacks on political opponents…” contributing “to a spiral of violence”.

Perhaps more pointedly; in December 1992 police testified to the Goldstone Commission investigating violence in KwaZulu Natal that the ANC was “waging an aggressive war” on the IFP “by military means”, and that the IFP was “disadvantaged in its resistance to the ANC’s onslaught [because it] lacked the quantity and sophistication of the weaponry available to the ANC”. The Goldstone Commission failed to probe these issues or give reasons for discounting them, and the violence continued.

All of this is significant, because the political violence that still continues today – and that the Commission is tasked with investigating – involves the very same protagonists. The inclusion of the NFP does not signify a new and different conflict that can be studied independent of anything that happened prior to the genesis of the NFP. Indeed, the conflict between the NFP and IFP is simply a continuation of the conflict between the ANC and the IFP, for the birth of the NFP was funded and strategized by the ANC.

This is not conjecture, but objective fact, based on evidence tabled before Parliament by the IFP’s President, to which not a single leader of the ANC, including the President, offered any contradiction. The fact of the ANC/NFP alliance immediately after the 2011 elections forces even a cynic to accept the link between these two parties.

The Premier himself has vehemently and publically spoken of the need to protect the ANC/NFP coalition. On 2 October 2012, as the ANC’s MEC for Transport, Safety and Community Liaison, Mr Mchunu officiated at a sod-turning ceremony in uMtshezi. This was a sod-turning on a multi-million Rand public transport facility being constructed in Ward 4. However the ceremony was inexplicably held in Ward 8, where a by-election was due to take place. During his remarks, Mr Mchunu accused opposition parties of killing an ANC Councillor in order to “steal” a municipality.

He assured opposition councillors present that the ANC was not scared of such “nobodies” and pointed out how the ANC had killed the Boers who, he explained, were a stronger enemy than the current opposition.

Explaining his words later, he said, “I spoke strongly… against the present manoeuvers by certain people to deal a deadly blow to the ANC-NFP working agreement… I was at the forefront during the negotiations towards the (ANC-NFP) agreement and it must be protected by all means.”

It must be remembered that in October 2012 Ethekwini IFP Ward 39 Councillor Mr Themba Xulu was kidnapped by people posing as policemen. When IFP members came to support the distraught Xulu family, one of our members, Ms Celiwe Shezi was gunned down by NFP members. Cllr Xulu was found dead a few days later riddled with bullets. Shortly thereafter, IFP member Mr Bongani Lushaba was murdered in KwaMashu. The public perception is that police are involved in the kidnapping and murder of Cllr Xulu. That perception is vindicated by the fact that Cllr Xulu’s case has not been pursued by the police in order to identify those people who are impersonating police officers, and thereby clear the name of the police. At some stage it was agreed that Major General Jula will take the file to his task team and pursue this case.

In the midst of this, a delegation of the NFP met with the then MEC Willies Mchunu as the Chairperson of the Multi-Party Task Team on Political Violence, expressing their commitment to peace and calling for the end of violence in KwaMashu. A member of this same delegation attended the court case of NFP members who were on trial for the murder of the IFP’s Celiwe Shezi. Outside the court, in broad daylight and in front of both the media and police, he took out a gun and shot dead the IFP’s Siyabonga Dlamini.

These four murders of IFP members were all politically motivated. There are many others that have taken place between 2011 and today. But, as I have related, the murders did not begin in 2011, they are not different to the murders that were occurring before 2011, and they cannot be studied in isolation from the murders that came before.

By way of analogy, immediately before the 1994 elections, KwaZulu-Natal endured 19 political murders over the course of just 3 days. But it would be meaningless to study those 19 murders without reference to the 20 000 deaths that preceded them as a consequence of the ANC’s People’s War.

There are trends from the political violence prior to 2011 that remain unchanged. One is the extremely poor record of investigation into murders of IFP leaders and members, and the very low conviction rate. Whether this speaks of a lack of political will, or simply ineffective policing, the fact remains that crime escalates when there is a perceived lack of consequences. The IFP believes that many murders and attempted murders would never have taken place except for the belief on the part of the perpetrators that they were politically protected from punishment.

During the ANC’s People’s War, some 400 leaders of the IFP were systematically assassinated. To date, there has been hardly a single conviction. I attach a list of the names, together with details of all these assassinations.

The IFP has pleaded for an investigation into these political murders for more than two decades. We submitted a plea to then President de Klerk, to President Mandela and subsequently to President Mbeki. But no commission of inquiry was ever established.

So the question must be asked why a commission of inquiry has only been established now, and why its investigations have been limited to the period after 2011.

There is no doubt that much of the current violence is intra-party violence within the ANC and the NFP. But the murder of IFP members and leaders is still continuing, and there are still very few convictions. The perception remains that politically-connected hitmen are acting with impunity.

We still have no answers for the family of Councillor Patrick Ngubane, who was shot and killed at Kagiso Hostel on 19 July 2014; or for the family of Mr Alson Nkosi who was shot dead in Abaqulusi on 17 June 2016; or for the families of Mr Siyanda Mnguni and Mr Thokozani Majola, who were shot at point blank range on 23 July 2016; or for the family of Mr Mcupheni Mboni, who was shot dead by an ANC member on 2 August 2016; or for the family of IFP Branch Chairperson Mr Simosakhe Ndlovu who was shot multiple times outside his home on 19 December 2016, seeing the fulfilment of a series of death threats; or for the family of Mr Lungisani Sithole who was stabbed to death on 19 December 2016 as he returned from his father’s funeral in eSikhaleni; or for the family of Mr Mduduzi Erick Kubheka whose body was found along the side of the road in Ngodini on 21 February 2017.

Chairperson, there are many serious issues that trouble us and I shall mention just a few here:

1. A number of Amakhosi have been killed over the past few years. No state apparatus was put in place to investigate the killings of Inkosi Lushaba of Port Shepstone, Inkosi V Gwala of Donnybrook, Inkosi Linda Mathonsi of Mandeni, Inkosi Zondi of uMvoti, Inkosi Nkosibeyiphika Johannes Mdluli from uMkhanyakude, Inkosi Magongo Bhekinkosi Gwala of Emaphephetheni in Ndwedwe who was brutally slaughtered like an animal by the ANC youth in his Traditional Court House in 1990. There was no offer of rewards for the arrest and conviction of any of their killers. After such killings a Task Team would be put in place to investigate, but we do not receive any reports on the progress of such investigations. This is a clear sign that the killing of Amakhosi is not considered as high priority crime. It must be remembered that Amakhosi are public representatives and have an important role to play in the communities that they represent.

2. During the 2014 elections the Station Commander of the Wembezi Police station at uMtshezi, Superintendent Mlaba, was recorded during the morning parade when he instructed police men to shoot IFP members and not to be scared of them. He said that they must use the material they have, referring to their guns. He said that they must protect the ANC because it was the ANC who liberated the country. He also said that the IFP are a bunch of killers that will perish in the next election. We made the tape available to the previous MEC for Community Safety, Willies Mchunu.  That case was not resolved. We feel that IFP cases are not properly investigated because of influence by superiors.
The MEC for Community Safety & Liaison, Willies Mchunu promised to have the matter investigated by IPID.
To this day there has been no response from either the MEC or IPID. To us as the IFP we feel that this is nothing but a cover-up.

3. Bongani Ntshalintshali was shot and killed in 2010 by members of the Friends of VZ. This shooting took place in broad daylight after the funeral of Cllr Duma and in front of the SAPS from Wembezi Police Station and community members.

4. Mthembeni Majola was shot in 2010 which resulted in him being wheelchair-bound. During the court case, Crime Intelligence police never come to testify and there were threats that his attackers would strike again.

5. After several previous attempts, Zama Mkhwanazi was shot and killed in the morning in 2010, on the road in the area called Locksloy. No arrest has been made to date. He was the newly elected IFP Mbabazane Constituency Chairperson. He was getting threats from the Friends of VZ that he can’t be the chairperson.

6. There was also the case of the ambush of an IFP taxi coming from Ulundi in 2010. IFP councillors and members were in the taxi that was attacked. Fortunately the taxi was escorted by SAPS who also chased the attackers who abandoned their car in the bush. The police arrested one suspect who was associated with the Friends of VZ but the outcome of the case or its status is still unknown.

7. In the Zwelisha area, the father of Njabulo Mabaso who was the Treasurer in the IFP’s Mbabazane Structure was shot and killed. He was carrying a two-year old child who was also shot dead. It was said at the time that the killing was to revenge Cllr Duma. The investigating Office was Mr Vidima from the Wembezi Police Station. No arrest has been made to date.

8. It is also of great concern that it seems that political interference in police investigations is continuing. An example of this is that several IFP councillors were arrested only days before the by-election in May 2017 after the municipality was dissolved by the MEC for COGTA. These councillors were arrested for so-called crimes that took place in November 2016 (Nquthu Police Cas No: 1203/17) and the other in January 2017 (Nquthu Police Cas No: 1345/17).

The January 2017 case is that of an induna who is an IFP councillor who caught people cutting down trees on his land. He confiscated the chainsaw that was used and handed it to the police when he reported the matter at the Nquthu police station. Again just days before the May 2017 by-election, he was arrested on a charge of robbery in connection with the chainsaw. This is obviously ludicrous because the complainant in this case is unknown and this smacks of political interference.
With regard to the killings in Ethekwini, it is our view that the Ethekwini Municipality must take full responsibility for not investigating allegations that people were selling beds at the hostels. This is illegal and has led to overcrowding and numerous social ills. It is common knowledge that people flock to Ethekwini in search of work and a better life. Due to this influx of people, accommodation is difficult to find and very expensive for people who are either unemployed or are earning very little. This creates opportunities for those who have rooms at the hostels to exploit those who are desperate for a place to live. The small rooms at the hostels have become overcrowded and have become hiding places for assassins and other criminals. These buildings are not well maintained by the municipality. Sewer systems malfunction, water pipes are leaking, lighting is very bad and the bush on the grounds are overgrown. Such conditions are ideal for criminal activity as is evidenced from the ongoing killings. The municipality is not taking the issue of violence around Durban seriously since it has representation on the Multi-Party Intervention Committee but there is no member that attends the meetings.

On 28 June 2015 Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi met with hostel dwellers at their request at the Edward Hotel in Durban with three representatives from each hostel around Durban. The hostel dwellers were led by Mr Mthembiseni Thusi who is the Chairperson of Ubunyebambahostela. As ordinary people regardless of their political affiliations, they wanted to meet him as Prime Minister to the King and the Zulu Nation. They wanted him to secure a meeting with the King with the sole intention of seeking the King’s intervention in quelling the violence in Durban. As I was also invited to the meeting, I suggested that His Majesty should be the last resort after taking their concerns to the Provincial Government via the MEC for Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu. Two days later I met with MEC Willies Mchunu and the Chairperson of the Community Safety and Liaison Portfolio Committee, Hon Bheki Ntuli. To this date neither the then MEC for Community Safety, Willies Mchunu, then Premier Senzo Mchunu nor the Chairperson of the Community Safety and Liaison Portfolio Committee, Hon Bheki Ntuli has met with the delegation and taken up their offer to assist Government in finding solutions to the violence.

Our concern is that there are many other people who have been killed but it is difficult to say whether these were politically motivated because the police have not investigated fully and have not given feedback to the families.

We also have names of IFP leaders who have been killed in many other areas such as KwaDukuza, uMhlathuze and Port Shepstone but we are unable to get accurate details of those cases since families move away from those areas due to intimidation.

It must also be said that while some of the killings are the result of criminal activity and general lawlessness, what is of concern to people on the street is the incompetence on the part of the police and the justice system.
It is our view that there has to be an investigation into the allegations that weapons used in many killings come from the police. One wonders if some police officers are complicit in these killings in order to benefit financially.
There must be an investigation into the allegation that some police officers turn to criminal activity during the times when they are not on official police duty since they have access to sensitive information which is used in committing crimes. Such police officers destroy peoples’ lives and demean the SAPS while they derive personal benefits.

There are many families still in mourning, but their loss is simply not a priority for police investigation.

We hope that the Commission will shed light on these murders. But we also ask that it take into account this submission by the IFP, by recommending that investigation be pursued into all political murders that remain unresolved. This would undoubtedly shed light of the underlying causes for the continuation of political violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

It is our perception that the infighting in the ANC is largely due to a struggle for positions and business contracts. While tenderpreneurs have become desperate in securing contracts, politicians and would-be politicians have become equally desperate to secure positions within structures and in all three tiers of government. The policy of cadre deployment to lucrative positions with the administrations of municipalities and the legislature has added to incompetence and corrupt practices. Once comrades within the ANC see their colleagues becoming wealthy through ill-begotten gains, they also want a share of the ever-dwindling pie. This has seen an increase in violence among members of the ANC who are constantly jostling for positions.

Chairperson, I am also attaching hereto a submission made by the IFP to the Multi-Party Peace Summit on Political Violence that took place on 14 August 2012, which speaks to the IFP’s perception on the influence of corruption in the escalation of political violence.

We appreciate the Commission’s attention to these important issues and we avail ourselves for further engagement.

Yours sincerely,

The Hon Mr MB Gwala MPL
National Chairperson
Inkatha Freedom Party