Durban – The camp of former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede says it is in the dark regarding the murder of one of her closest confidants and allies Sduduzo Magwaza on Tuesday evening particularly because he had no ambitions of running for political office.
Magwaza, 44, a long time Gumede loyalist, confidant and one of her chief campaigners, was shot on Tuesday evening at his Cornubia Village home, north of Durban, at around 21.45 after returning home from a local community meeting.
He died later in hospital.
Mzomuhle Dube, the spokesperson for Gumede’s supporters, said that Magwaza had just entered his house and was collecting water from his refrigerator when he was shot in front of his two children and older sister whom he lived with. The two assailants fled on foot.
Despite Magwaza being the ANC’s ward 30 (Mayville, Durban) candidate ahead of the 2016 local government elections, a ward which the ruling party lost to the Democratic Alliance, Dube said that Magwaza had no interest in contesting this year’s local government elections.
“We don’t want to make insinuations about whether this was a politically motivated killing until the motive is known, because you can sometimes make assumptions and end up aiding the killer to escape scot free, so we will wait for law enforcement to do its job.
He added that Magwaza was a final year law student at the University of South Africa and had since set his sights on pursuing a career in the legal fraternity although he was also under the employ of the eThekwini Municipality.
“His biggest passion was to practice law, it’s the one thing that occupied his heart a lot. This thing of people being killed like this but with no arrests being made has become like a disease, and it needs to be stopped,” said Dube.
Mary De Haas, a KZN violence monitor and honorary research fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Law, said that it was not surprising because such killings of politically linked people never quite go away although they may die down for a while.
“Nobody has been convicted for other key political killings, so if people want to carry on killing, it’s fairly easy for them to do so. So it’s not surprising, and there’s a worry that it may get worse as the elections draw nearer.
“When these people die, there could be another reason for it. Sometimes it’s because you have a business or taxi interests or you’re having an affair with someone’s wife, but when it’s a political person, I usually note it down as a political killing because it’s killing of politicians or someone who’s involved in corruption. So you’ve got to keep an open mind about what the motive is,” De Haas said.
She said that it was also a common modus operandi and trend of assassins of political figures to follow them after meetings to carry out their hits because they know their target’s movements, which makes it easier for them to take them out.
De Haas added that it was time for South Africa’s intelligence services to up their game by picking what’s happening in the political sphere, who are the people fighting among themselves within the ANC.
“You just ask yourself how is it that the apartheid police were so efficient. It was their crime intelligence. They were cruel and ruthless, but they were efficient because they were snooping people and crime intelligence, and the government’s got the means to do that.
“It’s also about properly securing the crime scene, ballistics evidence, forensic evidence, what sort of gun was used, and basically, also about tightening up on gun control and who gets guns and ammunition. There’s too many people, especially in the security and taxi industries, with access to all sorts of guns and ammunition,” said De Haas.
Political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu, from the University of the Western Cape, said that any killings that happened now would be linked to the local government elections, and it could be intra-party related or because of the positions that people were vying for could be classified as intra-party killings, where killings happen within the party.
“When killings happen in the build up to the elections, it’s not easy to say upfront what kind of killing it is. Whether it’s intra-party or it’s an inter-party killing, or if it’s just pure criminality, because that one will always be there,” said Mngomezulu.