DURBAN – Police on Tuesday said as many as 42 people had been arrested in the political unrest in Inchanga that has claimed the lives of at least two people and left several houses in cinders.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said that the 42 had been arrested on charges of public violence and were expected to appear in the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court later on Tuesday.
The unrest that erupted on Sunday night followed the fatal shooting of a 40-year-old SA Communist Party (SACP) member outside a tavern. In the ensuing violence a 38-year-old man was stoned to death on Monday morning.
Zwane said that the two deaths had been handed over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (more commonly known as the Hawks) to investigate.
SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said that the woman who had been shot dead was a witness in the case of the January 2016 killing of another SACP member, Philip Dlamini.
Zwane said he could not immediately confirm if the woman, Nontsikelelo Nkosi, was a witness in that case.
Tension, particularly in the Fredville area, has been high ever since outgoing eThekwini mayor and SACP provincial chairman James Nxumalo was ousted as leader of the African National Congress’s (ANC) eThekwini region.
The SACP is part of the Tripartite Alliance, which includes the ANC and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
Those supporting Nxumalo and those supporting Zandile Gumede, who replaced him have been at odds ever since.
SACP supporters in the region claimed that there was gatekeeping that prevented them participating in the ANC branch nominations for the local government elections.
Their preferred candidate Petrus Nxumalo, then stood as an independent in Ward 4, and defeated the ANC’s nominated candidate and branch chairperson Nokukhanya Gumede.
Two relatives of the previous ward councillor Boy Shozi are among the five arrested in connection with Dlamini’s death.