The Nelspruit area, with a population of 600,000, has been home to a long-running feud between rival members of South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress. The antagonists want a bigger share of patronage and other spoils. Killings seem to have been used as a tactic.
In the past month, three supposed hit lists landed in South African newspapers. One includes people to be shot, another those to be poisoned. The Sunday Times recently quoted a repentant Mozambican assassin who asserted that he was hired by top-level politicians and businessmen to kill their adversaries, describing his profession as the work of a “cleaner.”
Mayor Chiwayo appears on each list, and while he said he was unsure if any of the threats were genuine, he noted that several designees had died suspiciously.
“Those who’ll benefit from this are the wealthy that already have plenty in their hand,” he said, not in resentment so much as weariness.