One political hit every two weeks since start of 2024, new study finds

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In the first four months of 2024 alone, 10 politically motivated assassinations were recorded in SA.

In its latest report, titled The Politics of Murder, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) found an average of at least one political hit every two weeks between January and April this year.

In the report, GI-TOC analysts Chwayita Thobela and Rumbi Matamba said there were always spikes in political assassinations during election years, particularly in long-contested provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal.

“The 2024 elections, the sixth national election in the country’s 30 years of democracy, have been earmarked as a potential watershed moment, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) facing challenges in securing its National Assembly majority. Recent changes in what has long been a stagnant political landscape include a rise in coalition governments and the formation of several new political parties, most significantly the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party, whose campaigning has been led by former president Jacob Zuma.”

“The MK party already holds substantial support in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, a former ANC stronghold, where it threatens to dilute ANC votes. The ANC’s waning influence, on the back of high unemployment and crime rates, cost of living increases and widespread government corruption, including unaddressed state capture revelations, means that the 2024 elections could see several political power shifts.”

GI-TOC said the breakdown of hits by province follows the pattern of previous years, with the highest number of political assassinations in 2023 recorded in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Significantly fewer cases were recorded in Gauteng (two), the Eastern Cape (two), Limpopo (one), Mpumalanga (three) and the Western Cape (four). The motives behind these killings in KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere vary, but include eliminating political rivals, intimidating voters, removing competitors for local government contracts, targeting municipal workers responsible for awarding these contracts, and silencing those who speak out against corruption, particularly in local government.”

Read the full report on ProtectionWeb here.