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KZN councillors fear for their lives as EFF and IFP relations turn hostile – Cele

Police Minister, General Bheki Cele.

Police Minister, General Bheki Cele.

  • Police Minister Bheki Cele said the police will investigate alleged threats against the EFF’s Marshall Dlamini amid council coalition upheaval.
  • The EFF indicated that they will stop supporting the IFP in coalitions in the province. 
  • Cele said councillors pleaded with the police for protection in a province with a history of political violence.

As political tensions in KwaZulu-Natal appear to be on the boil, Police Minister Bheki Cele has been in talks with IFP, ANC, and EFF leaders.

Councillors from Nongoma pleaded for extra police protection amid signs of the collapse of the local government’s coalition in KwaZulu-Natal, Cele said on Thursday on the sidelines of inspecting the police parade ahead of the State of the Nation Address.

Cele said that on 30 January he was informed of a change of leadership planned for the Nongoma Municipality, which is in the hands of the IFP.

As a result, the councillors were jittery and wanted the police to help, “given the province’s history”, said Cele, an apparent reference to political violence. 

“They feared that their lives could be in danger,” he added. 

On Saturday, 4 February, Cele was briefed on the possibility of a “rise of the political temperature” in the province, and he called the major parties and spoke to them about their security concerns. 

This comes after the EFF released a statement that there was a plot to kill the red berets’ secretary-general Marshall Dlamini because of its decision to break coalition ties with the IFP. 

READ | We’re not interested in ‘token mayorships’: IFP hits back at Malema after breakdown in relations

In a statement, the EFF linked it to the party’s decision to no longer support IFP-governed municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, because the IFP did not want to support them for municipal leadership. 

Cele said the police would investigate the Dlamini assassination claim. He said that in relation to the unfolding impasse, he had “generic” phone conversations about safety with the leaders of the IFP, ANC, and EFF. 

“The only leadership that we did not phone is the NFP [National Freedom Party] but we are going to engage them later,” he said. 

“There is no other information that the minister heard that goes to the specific individuals as victims, or as perpetrators,” Cele added. 

The Mail&Guardian reported that, according to NFP secretary-general Canaan Mdletshe, a motion of no confidence against IFP office bearers at the Nongoma Municipality was scheduled to be debated on Thursday.

The publication reported:

There are two motions that have been filed in Nongoma, one is the motion against the Speaker and another one is the one that has been filed by the ANC and is against the mayor of Nongoma, councillor Albert Mncwango.

News24 reported previously that IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said the EFF wanted the mayorship in uMhlathuze, and in turn, they suggested giving IFP Mogale City.

“As a principled party, we could not accept such an arrangement because the people in those municipalities did not vote for the IFP or the EFF,” said Hlabisa.

He said Johannesburg had a “token mayor in place” after the EFF and the ANC joined forces in their “coalition of convenience”. 

Hlabisa claimed the EFF wanted a “barter trade type of governing where you scratch my back, and I scratch yours”.

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