Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, April 25, 2005

ANC in the hot seat over assassination
The investigation into the assassination of senior ANC official Noby Ngombane is turning over some rather large stones, with some serious repercussions for the ANC as a party. News24 reports that a "senior African National Congress leader in the Free State and a senior official of the party's provincial office in Bloemfontein allegedly conspired and paid an assassin from Bethlehem to kill Ngombane".

This is an acutely troubling accusation for the ANC. Whilst one would assume that this is an act of a few rogue individuals, the alleged use of party coffers to pay for the assassination is a worrying sign for ANC transparency and protocol. It is clear that there were significant rifts within the ANC's Free State leadership, but political assassination by party members damages the reputation of the ANC as a political entity. If proven, the ANC will be hard-pressed to effectively spin the convictions as an independent act as opposed to a party mindset.

Comments made by Noby's wife, Nokwanda, at his funeral, only add further petrol to the flames. She was quoted as saying that "an atmosphere of destruction of Ngombane's personal dignity and spirit began long before the assassin took his life. A climate has been created which justifies the pulling of the trigger, so that when the time came, it appears as if the murderers were doing the Free State province a favour".

This was naturally refuted by the ANC's Free State head Ace Mageshule, who stated that the ANC would "never allow members that are murderers". Nevertheless, it presents a tricky challenge for the ANC. How much support do they lend to their Free State politicians without running the risk of being perceived to be protecting real criminals in their midst?

Expect the DA attack dogs to come out snarling...