south africa’s political violence growing rapidly ahead of elections
General elections will be held in South Africa in 2024 to elect a new National Assembly and provincial legislatures in each province. The ANC (African National Congress) has been in power in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.
However, political violence has increased rapidly in South Africa ahead of the election. According to a BBC report, political violence has increased in a key region in South Africa.
ANC councilor Thembinkosi Lombo was gunned down in Greytown, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, on February 25 2022. He was a councilor in ward 13 in the Umvoti municipality in South Africa. He left behind a wife and nine children.
His mother Lindeni Lombo, 75, told the BBC that Thembinkosi Lombo’s murder was an inside job. She told BBC, “My son told me that within the ANC there was some rivalry – those who were anti- and those who were pro-him.”
Fergal Keane, an Irish foreign correspondent with BBC News, went to South Africa to document the plight of politicians.
Over the past 12 months, more than 20 councilors have been killed in KwaZulu-Natal. In more than a decade, over 150 councilors or government officials have been killed in South Africa.
Political violence in South Africa
Political violence targeting local government officials in South Africa is on the rise. In light of the escalating attacks, people are living in fear.
According to Police Minister Bheki Cele, most of the dead councilors and local officials had been victims of internal political rivalry. The intra-party competition to secure influential positions at the local level led to the rise of political violence.
Local officials became both victims and perpetrators of political violence. Between 2018 and 2022, kidnapping of local officials accounted for approximately two-thirds of all events. ANC members suffered the most as they were easy targets.
Since 2018, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province has been the epicenter of political violence. The Eastern Cape and then Gauteng province witnessed intense violence.
With elections looming, there’s an intense fear of escalated violence in this region. People are concerned for their safety amid this political turmoil.