ANC calls for peace as political killings mount

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President Jacob Zuma is seen at the Haryy Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, on 12 June 2016. He delivered the key note address for the provincial party's manifesto launch.

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PIETERMARITZBURG - Political killings topped the agenda at the African National Congress (ANC) KwaZulu Natal (KZN) election manifesto launch at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.

Addressing thousands of supporters, party president Jacob Zuma condemned the violence saying the “senseless killings must stop.”

Since April, politically linked killings have rocked KZN. ANC leaders including councilors and a branch chairman have been killed.

Last week, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko announced that a special police task team was established to investigate and try to prevent political killings.

Zuma said the recent spate of violence has brought back painful memories for the people of KwaZulu Natal.

“We must do everything possible to prevent violence and assist the police to apprehend perpetrators. Violence has no place in our democracy,” said Zuma.

“Let us unite and defeat those who are trying to sow mayhem through killing people in this province. It is not acceptable.“

He added: “We extend our deepest condolences to the families of all who have been killed in the province including right here in Pietermaritzburg. “

His words were echoed by ANC KZN chairperson Sihle Zikalala.

“We have seen in recent weeks the killings of a number of comrades of the ANC. These are criminal elements that we are not going to accept to happen in our country and in our province,” he said.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has also expressed concern.

“No one must die to be a councillor, no one must die to be a candidate councillor. Let us stop killing each other,” said Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini.

He called for unity and calm adding that the focus should be on the ‘victory of the African National Congress.”

“If there are issues as the leadership – national and provincial – lets all sit down and clear those issues for the unity of the ANC,” said Dlamini.

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