At least 20 candidates were murdered by opponents in the run-up to last week’s local elections in South Africa, which were won by the ruling ANC—and which lost at least 13 candidates to the mayhem.
A significant number of the dead candidates appear to have been murdered by members of their own parties in internal squabbles over the right to be nominated.
According to a report in the Business Day newspaper in Johannesburg, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe is on record as having said that many candidates have treated the nomination process as a “life-and-death situation,” and that some candidates were prepared to kill to keep their position.
Both the ANC and the South African Police Service are probing the political killings with a view to bringing the culprits to book and establishing whether the killings are mainly as a result of divisions within parties, particularly the ANC.
Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said the murders were part of the broader issue of the ANC having said that candidates who did not enjoy community support might be forced to resign should they be elected, thus also forcing by-elections.
“The levels of violence have risen on the run-up to this election and that is not good for democracy,” Naidoo said.
Meanwhile, ANC “veterans’ minister” (veterans in this sense being the ex-armed wing of the ruling party which took up arms against the previous white government) Kebby Maphatsoe said in the wake of the election that “We are very, very worried if we don’t do anything to change our economy from being in the hands of the minority, we will have our people uprising.”
“We should blame ourselves for not being brave enough for radical change in South Africa’s economy. We need black economic empowerment. We need to take over the running of companies. They cannot be in white hands forever.”
Maphatsoe’s remarks are being interpreted as an indication that the ANC might try and stop its vote hemorrhaging to the radical “Economic Freedom Fighters” (EFF) party—which has staked out an overt anti-white policy. The EFF took over 1.2 million votes in last week’s election, and came third overall.