General impunity with regards to political killings - Pithouse

While Parliament and the South African Police Service (SAPS) have agreed to provide the necessary protection for Dr Makhosi Khoza, who has faced several death threats, there are more death threats being made against Members of Parliament and legislature leaders in the country.

The speaker of an Eastern Cape municipality was recently gunned down in Fort Beaufort.

Thozama Njobe, an African National Congress (ANC) councillor at the Raymond Mhlaba Municipality died in hospital on Monday after being shot several times.

She was apparently aware of a plot to assassinate her.

READ: Commission needs to verify Glebelands Hostel, ANC hitmen claims - analyst

ALSO READ: High profile politicians believed to be 'pulling the strings' in assassinations

Professor Richard Pithouse spoke to Xolani Gwala about the ongoing threats and political killings over the years, and why there has been little effort to address this.

Pithouse says threats and assassinations have always taken place at grassroots level.

It is not new, it has been very much part of our politics, particularly in certain parts of the country for a very long time. It has been a very prevalent feature of politics, especially at a kind of grassroots level... it has drifted upwards over the years.

Richard Pithouse, Associate Professor at Rhodes University

Pithouse says there is an assumption that there are certain people who have a right to authority and power and anyone who challenges that, is conducting themselves illegitimately.

Its about looking at the world through a lens that was forged during the struggle against apartheid, a lens that is not always conducive to a democratic understanding of political engagement.

Richard Pithouse, Associate Professor at Rhodes University

On the whole there has been a generalised impunity for this conduct....

Richard Pithouse, Associate Professor at Rhodes University

He says there is a general responsibility that needs be taken for this kind of politics.

Mostly middle class society has simply not been interested in this kind of toxic politics festering on the ground, it is only when we hear leaps here where suddenly it is in the newspapers, suddenly civil society is discussing it, but there is a generalized responsibility for how this has become a normalised feature of our politics.

Richard Pithouse, Associate Professor at Rhodes University

Click on the link below to listen to the full audio...

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