Vikizitha Mlotshwa is NFP provincial chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal.

Durban – The National Freedom Party on Sunday reiterated its call for President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a state of emergency in KwaZulu-Natal before the national and provincial elections next year, following the murder of yet another politician in the province.

An Inkatha Freedom Party local government councillor was killed in an apparent ambush between Estcourt and Colenso in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday night.

Confirming the incident via Twitter on Sunday, IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Zakhele Mazibuko was killed on Saturday night “in an ambush between Estcourt and Colenso shortly after leaving a party meeting”. According to Hlengwa, Mazibuko was IFP Uthukela district publicity secretary.

South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele also confirmed the incident with the African News Agency on Sunday morning.

NFP KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Vikizitha Mlotshwa conveyed condolences to Mazibulo’s family, friends, and members of the IFP.

Killing of politicians in the province had become “the order of the day”, which threatened the democratic process and “kills the moral for young women and men to participate in political parties”, Mlotshwa said.

Therefore, the NFP continued to urge Ramaphosa to heed the party’s call for an immediate state of emergency to be declared in KwaZulu-Natal. “Crime statistics and political killings in the province have shown that the provincial government alone cannot tackle and reduce the number,” Mlotshwa said.

Mazibuku’s murder comes just days before the final report of the Moerane Commission of inquiry into political killings in the province is to be presented at the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Thursday.

Mazibuko is the second IFP councillor to be killed this year and one of scores of politicians killed in KwaZulu-Natal since 2011, which prompted premier Willies Mchunu to establish the Moerane Commission in October 2016.  

Although numbers are difficult to confirm, due in part to the definition of a political killing, the ANC told the Moerane Commission in October last year that according to the party’s own calculations, which were based on law enforcement reports, 80 politicians had been killed in the province since 2011.

Thirty people from various political parties have died since the start of 2016, according to the testimony of ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala. Since January 2016 the killings included 19 members of the ANC; three members of the IFP; three members of the NFP; three members of the South African Communist Party; and one member of the Economic Freedom Fighters, said Zikalala.  

Murders committed since Zikalala’s testimony shifts the total closer to 90 since 2011. Independent researcher and KwaZulu-Natal violence monitor Mary de Haas has placed the number at over 100 for the same period.

African News Agency/ANA