Saturday, June 10, 1:28:41 PM
UMLAZI POLITICAL VIOLENCE CRISIS – PRESS RELEASE 5
Mrs Sibiya 0722184139
Miss Sabelo 0726296350
Mr Gumede 0725479882
Mr Sithole 0829704586
Mass Meeting in Umlazi this Sunday – All Media Welcome
On Sunday 11 June at 13:00 at the Manzolwandle H.P. School, E-Section Umlazi various organisations representing people in the Ward 80 Community, including Women of Umlazi and others, will hold a mass meeting to discuss the Umlazi crisis. The agenda will include:
* A follow up meeting with the Umlazi SAPS on community security with particular regard to the crisis caused by the recent series of political assassinations
* The formation of a democratic and credible Community Policing Forum
* A way forward for the community to take up the social crisis resulting from unemployment etc
This meeting is held against the backdrop of a major political crisis which has gone largely unnoticed by elites in the media, political and human rights industries. The key points in the unfolding of this crisis are as follows:
1. A group of activists within the ANC, many with long histories in the SACP, opposed the nomination of the incumbent Ward 80 Councillor, Elliot Xulu, to stand in the local government elections. It was widely felt that he was corrupt, had failed to deliver and had not demonstrated any commitment to democratic process. It was also felt that 15 years was too long for anyone to serve and that it was high time that the ward had a women candidate. Attempts to secure a credible candidate though party structures collapses. Protests against the renomination of Xulu failed.
2. It was decided to put up an independent candidate, Zamani Mthethwa, to oppose Xulu.
3. The Mthethwa campaign suffered major intimidation from the beginning including death threats, threats of assault, whippings, assaults, disruption of meetings, open removal of election posters etc.
4. On election day there were widespread reports that Xulu had been seen committing blatant electoral fraud.
5. On 2 March Xulu was reported to have won the election by 71 votes. This announcement was greeted with protests demanding that the IEC investigate the widespread allegations of electoral fraud. The Public Order Policing shot and killed a passer-by, Monica Nomthandazo Ngcobo (25). The police said that she had been shot in the stomach with a rubber bullet. The autopsy later showed that she had been shot in the back with live ammunition. Shortly after Ngcobo was shot and killed by the Public Order Policing Unit on the street members of the Unit entered the house of Zamani Mthethwa’s younger brother, S’busiso Mthethwa (31) and shot him in his house. He sustained multiple gunshot wounds but survived the attack. From this date till the present Xulu’s home has been guarded around the clock by a team of 88 police officers.
6. On 8 March a group of people wearing ANC t-shirts gathered outside Zamani Mthethwa’s home and hurled insults at him and his family. The group then went to the Ngcobo home where Monica’s father chased them away. They then went back to the Mthethwa home and broke all the windows with stones in full view of the SAPS Area Crime Combating unit who had been deployed to guard Xulu’s house full time.
7. Supporters of the Mthethwa campaign reported ongoing and sustained intimidation including the regular firing of weapons around their houses. The police at Xulu’s militarised compound never came to investigate all these ongoing gun shots.
8. On 31 March Women of Umlazi organised a large march against police brutality and against Xulu. Xulu followed the march in his car threatening marchers. One of his henchmen video taped marches who attacked him to get the camera fearing that the video evidence would be used to identify people for attack by Xulu’s henchmen. 12 people are arrested for public violence. The Umlazi SAPS took possession of the video camera and recordings.
9. On 12 April Sinethemba Myeni, 36, a longstanding SACP activist and a strong supporter of the Mthethwa campaign was shot in the head 5 times by 5 gunmen who entered his home and identifying themselves as ‘the police’. He died in the arms of his family.
10. On 3 May Mazwi ‘Komi’ Zulu. 46, also a longstanding SACP activist and a strong supporter of the Mthethwa campaign, was attacked by 2 gunmen while on the way to work, suffered multiple gunshots and died at the scene.
11. On 14 May Komi Zulu was buried at a huge funeral at the Merebank cemetery. No ANC or SACP official offers any form of support. As hundreds of mourners returned from the funeral they saw people drinking around a braai in Xulu’s compound and heard people ululating.
12. On 21 May Xulu convened a small ANC meeting to electe a new Branch Executive Committee. Only card carrying members were allowed to attend. But more than 700 ANC members opposed to Xulu had paid for cards but never received them.
13. On 28 May various organisations worried about the ongoing crisis, including Women of Umlazi and others, called a mass meeting with the community and the Umlazi SAPS to try and chart a way forward. The Umlazi SAPS agreed to work with the community and the community agreed to set up democratic structures to ensure that this can happen effectively.
14. On 1 June the Umlazi SAPS arrested two men for the murder of Komi Zulu in Xulu compound. They are employees of Xulu.
15. On 5 June the suspects appeared in R Court in Umlazi. Community members and the Umlazi SAPS both brought petitions requesting the prosecutor to withhold bail. The suspects were detained in custody. The next court date was set for 12 June.
16. 11 June – a follow up mass meeting with the E-section community and the Umlazi SAPS is scheduled.