'The murders were not political, it had nothing to do with the ANC.'
The ANC in the ZF Mgcawu region said that it was not able to verify the membership status of the accused, who were found guilty in the double murder of Danielskuil DA councillor Johannes Baatjies and family friend Shuping Jeffrey Nouse.
Baatjies died of multiple gunshot wounds and was found lying on the side of the road between Groenwater and Postmasburg, a day before he was supposed to be sworn in as a councillor at the Kgatelopele municipality on August 18 2016.
The DA and the Kgatelopele Community Forum formed an alliance where it managed to wrestle control of the municipality from the ANC during the local government elections, when the alliance won an additional ward.
The former branch secretary of the ANC in Danielskuil and former administrator of the ANC offices Zoniselo Richard Magawu, and former ANC regional executive committee member Matthews Legodu, were found guilty along with three other accused in the Northern Cape High Court this week.
The charges against a sixth accused Paulus Mvuleni Mgcera were withdrawn in 2017, following the death of a key State witness.
Mgcera was elected as the executive mayor of the ZF Mgcawu district municipality on March 12 this year. He was replaced as a councillor at Kgatelopele municipality following his arrest in 2016.
ANC ZF Mgcawu regional secretary, David Kazi, believed that the ANC should be taken out of the equation.
“The murders were not political, it had nothing to do with the ANC. The organisation would never advocate the inhumane killing of anyone. The ANC never funded any of the accused with their legal fees. If anyone did, it would have been friends or colleagues who would have assisted them out of their own accord, on an individual basis.”
He added that only Luthuli House could verify the membership records of ANC members.
“The last time I checked the membership of Magawu and Legodu in 2016, it had lapsed. They no longer hold any positions in the ANC. I do not know the other accused.
“I would not be able to check if they had renewed their membership online because I do not have authorisation to go into the system. Only Luthuli House will be able to check their current status.”
Kazi pointed out that only the ANC in the Province and not the region could institute disciplinary procedures against a member.
The ANC in the Province referred enquiries to the region.
Magawu in February this year maintained that he was still a card-carrying member, who “loved the ANC”.
He stated that he had approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) during his incarceration, as his salary was suspended in June 2019, after he was informed that his contract as a parliamentary competency officer had ended in March 2019.
He however lost his labour dispute as he was unable to attend the hearings, as he was in custody.
The Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Major General Kholekile Galawe, on Friday welcomed the conviction.
“We commend the work of the investigating team and the untiring efforts of the prosecutors. The conviction is highly commendable and sends a clear messages that any form of murder irrespective of political affiliation will not be tolerated in the Northern Cape. We are committed to serve the public with integrity, impartiality, without fear, favour and prejudice.”