A Sunday report that appeared in one of the world’s most influential titles, The New York Times, paints a stark picture about the reality of political killings in South Africa.
Headlined “Hit Men and Power: South Africa’s Leaders Are Killing One Another“, it focuses heavily on the bloody province of KwaZulu-Natal, which was the focus of a recent report on political killings released by the Moerane commission.
Starting with the murder of the ANC’s youth leader Sindiso Magaqa (on which much of the article concentrates), the report declares that “All of the assassination targets had one thing in common: They were members of the African National Congress who had spoken out against corruption in the party that defined their lives.”
One whistleblower told the publication that the ANC has become like the Mafia and it is dangerous to break its “omertà” code of silence.
“In most cases, ANC. officials are killing one another, hiring professional hit men to eliminate fellow party members in an all-or-nothing fight over money, turf and power, ANC officials say,” reads the report.
Fighting has been concentrated on political power and its spoils, with about 90 politicians killed since the start of 2016.
The article features the memorable line from Magaqa’s friend Thabiso Zulu – who has gone into hiding and still fears for his life since Magaqa’s slaying: “If you understand the Cosa Nostra, you don’t only kill the person, but you also send a strong message.”
The publication also made headlines in August for an article that was scathing of Deputy President David Mabuza, “a former math teacher” who has “become one of the most powerful figures in the African National Congress”.