In July 2013 the Daily Maverick reported that there had been “59 political murders in the last five years”. In August 2016 it was reported that there had been at least twenty political assassinations in the run-up to the local government elections on the 3rd of August that year, most of them in KwaZulu-Natal.
Political assassinations have often been ascribed to battles around patronage within the ruling African National Congress. However, not all assassinations are a result of conflict within the ruling party. The National Freedom Party led by Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, with its base largely in KwaZulu-Natal, claims that 21 of its members have been killed since the party was founded in early 2011. The Inkatha Freedom Party claims that ten of its elected representatives has been murdered.
In June 2013 Abahlali baseMjondolo, an autonomous shack dwellers’ movement in Durban, claimed that the murder of Nkululeko Gwala, a local leader in the organisation, was a political assassination. In May 2016 two ANC councillors were convicted of murder following the assassination of Thuli Ndlovu, also a local leader in Abahlali baseMjondolo.