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ANC councillor killed after S.Africa poll win

Written by: Staff
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JOHANNESBURG, March 5 (Reuters) A newly elected councillor for South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) was shot dead in what police said could be a politically motivated killing after last week's local government polls.

The councillor was yesterday 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 notified.

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 per cent of the national vote -- up from 60 per cent at the last municipal election in 2000, according to final results released late yesterday.

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 power.

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

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 per cent of the vote in the racially divided city, where the coloured community makes up more than half of the city's population.

REUTERS SY VC1720

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