‘Our turn to eat’ syndrome fueling political violence: Mchunu

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Former KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu

Former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu believes the drive to become elected officials with access to state resources is a key factor influencing political violence within the province and the African National Congress.

Mchunu was today providing testimony, in his personal capacity, to the Moerane Commission which is probing political violence in the province.

Mchunu diagnosed what he terms an “it’s our turn to eat” syndrome befalling some within the ANC.

According to Mchunu, it is the drive to become elected officials such as PR counsellors as well as the relative ease related to rising to such a position that influences the spate of political violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Being councillor is easily accessible because you don’t really need a qualification and you can suddenly get income.

“Becoming a councillor also gives you status and it pays financially, it puts you in close proximity to tenders…it brings honour of being able to offer employment,” said Mchunu.

Mchunu highlighted that from the 1980’s there had been political violence within the province between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the ANC which he blamed the Apartheid government for fueling.

However casting his view to more contemporary concerns, Mchunu said political violence was no longer driven by the state and has since in 2011 turned to become “a phenomenon within the ANC” where people jostle within the party for positions which often leads to access to state resources.

Mchunu also noted that from the end of 1996 until 2011 there had been a dramatic reduction in political violence in the province, which only flared up periodically during election periods.

However, Mchunu said that those periods of peace were never fully consolidated to ensure a lasting peace.

The former premier has suggested that a dialogue take place in the province either once or twice a year consisting of various stakeholders to ensure that peace is firmly planted in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mchunu also added that there is a need for strong leadership within the ANC, however, said leadership currently gets comprised by factionalism.

“PR councillor lists are sometimes manipulated because you are not in a particular faction,” he said.

-Siphiwe Mchunu

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