KZN Councillors to Return to Court on Murder Charges

Press statement by Abahlali baseMjondolo

Two African National Congress (ANC) councillors facing charges of murder, Mduduzi (Nqola) Christian Ngcobo and Luvelile Lutshelu, were due to appear in the Durban High Court on 26 January 2016. These alleged izinkabi (hitmen) are charged with assassinating Thuli Ndlovu, Abahlali baseMjondolo KwaNdengezi chairperson and a senior leader member of our movement, on 29 September 2014. Both suspects are councillors from the ruling party and the party has protected them despite these serious allegations. We are told that they are still working for the party and receiving their normal salaries.

It is very dangerous for our society when “leaders” are supported even when they become violent to the extent of killing those who are governed in the name of democracy. We have said many times that the politic in this province is bloody and violent. We have said that some councillors in Durban are leaders during the day and become izinkabi in the evening. We are facing a gangster state.

In recent weeks we have witnessed a number of deaths in the taxi industry, especially in the KwaNdengezi area. The provincial government has failed to act decisively to protect lives. We have witnessed at least 40 people being killed in the hostels in Durban, particular in Umlazi and KwaMashu townships. In all of these violent acts, the state is becoming familiar and slowly the society is getting used to it.  The danger is that it is becoming acceptable that people can be killed with impunity.

Last week we witnessed the killing of ANC and  South African Communist Party (SACP) members in Inchanga as a result of a dispute over a councillor position as we head to the local government election. If the ruling party displays such violent acts amongst its own members then the nation is clearly not safe. Those of us who organise outside of the ANC, and who stand against its oppression to the people, are certainly not safe. Everyone who accepts a leadership position in our movement understands that they are risking their lives.

When the two ANC councillors first appeared in Durban High Court on the 25th of January 2016, they were escorted by ANC members in ANC t-shirts. This shows that they enjoy party support even at this time when they face such serious charges of murder. Our members, mainly women, were also present at the court. They, as well as journalists, were openly threatened by Nqola, his brother and ANC members. We have often received public death threats from ANC members while attending court hearings. It has become normal.

People who are poor and Black are being killed with impunity in Durban and in KwaZulu-Natal. We call on all progressive forces to stand against the politic of blood and to defend democratic values and practices. If we are not able to stop the politic of blood and fear, the politic of death threats, assaults and assassinations, there will be no future for the poor. Without space to organise freely we can’t build the power of the poor and if we can’t build our power we can’t build a just society.

We encourage those journalists who were openly threatened in court by Nqola and his thugs to report these threats. We call upon Nqola’s party to isolate and disown all the Nqolas that have infiltrated the party as Blade Nzimande has called.

We are not confident that the local government elections will be fair and free in Durban and in KwaZulu-Natal. We are not confident that we will be safe.

To learn more about Abahlali baseMjondolo, visit abahlali.org.

Authors name: 
Abahlali baseMjondolo