‘KILLING FIELD’ OF KZN MID­LANDS

Sunday Tribune - - METRO - LUNGANI ZUNGU

DUR­ING the 1990s, Rich­mond was known for po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated killings which earned the Mid­lands town the name, the “killing field” of Kwazulu-natal.

How­ever, when Si­fiso Nk­abinde, a well-known fig­ure in Rich­mond, was ex­pelled from the ANC in 1997, he joined the United Demo­cratic Move­ment led by Bantu Holomisa.

This trig­gered a low-level war be­tween the UDM and the ANC which saw more than 120 peo­ple killed, prompt­ing Man­dela to de­ploy the army to Rich­mond. Nk­abinde was killed in 1999.

An­drew Ra­gavaloo, who was the mayor at the time of clashes, re­counts the tur­bu­lent pe­riod in his book, Liv­ing Un­der the Shadow of Death.

“A true story, this grip­ping nar­ra­tive reads like a po­lit­i­cal thriller as it de­scribes one South African town’s year of ter­ror in the early days of the new postapartheid gov­ern­ment,” read an ex­tract from the book.

It is be­lieved the re­cent po­lit­i­cal killings were sparked by fac­tions within the ANC

Last year, deputy mayor of Rich­mond Than­dazile Phoswa was gunned a month af­ter Rich­mond’s mu­nic­i­pal man­ager‚ Sibu­siso Sit­hole was killed. Two ANC coun­cil­lors were also shot dead last year.

The ANC Youth League in Mzwandile Mbongwa sub-re­gion in Rich­mond will hold a me­mo­rial this month in hon­our of all the peo­ple who were killed in the area in po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated at­tacks. |

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