March 5, 2006

ANC councillor killed after S.Africa poll win

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A newly elected councillor for
South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) was shot dead
late on Saturday in what police said could be a politically
motivated killing after last week's local government polls.

The councillor was shot while sleeping at a house in the
country's eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, the traditional
stronghold of the opposition Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which
saw its support eroded in Wednesday's municipal election.

"There were four people asleep in the house when they were
attacked by unknown gunmen," KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman
Director Bala Naidoo told Reuters.

"Three men were shot and killed, one was an elected ANC
councillor. Nothing was taken from the house. We are still
investigating but at this stage we can't rule out the
possibility of a political motive."

Naidoo said three men had been taken into police custody
for questioning. He declined to release the name of the
councillor or his companions as relatives had not yet been

In a statement carried by the South African Press
Association the ANC condemned the shootings, which took place
in the town of Shobashobane in Ezinqolenei municipality --
about 150 km south of the port city of Durban.

The IFP is the main black political rival for the governing
ANC, which won more than 66 percent of the national vote -- up
from 60 percent at the last municipal election in 2000,
according to final results released late on Saturday.

The poll was largely free of political violence, but
campaigning was marred by protests in poor townships across the
country, with angry residents blaming the ANC for failing to
deliver electricity, water and sewerage after 12 years in

Support for the IFP nationally dwindled to eight percent
from 12 percent in 2000 while backing for the main opposition
Democratic Alliance (DA) -- which is dominated by whites --
fell to 15 percent from 22 percent.

But the DA won a larger share of the vote in the tourist
city of Cape Won, leaving the city that is home to the
country's national parliament facing a likely fragile coalition
government with the recently formed Independent Democrats (ID).

The ID took about 11 percent of the vote in the racially
divided city, where the coloured community makes up more than
half of the city's population.