South African opposition councillor found dead, raising political tensions
The body of Johannes Baaitjies was found dumped by the side of the main road connecting Danielskuil and Postmasburg with two gun shots to his head and one in his chest early on the morning of Thursday 18 August, a day before he was due to be sworn into office.
A DA spokesman said Baaitjies had received death threats shortly after winning the Ward 2 seat in Danielskuil, which he wrestled from the governing ANC in local government elections held early this month, sparking speculation his death could be linked to his victory.
Andrew Louw, the DA leader in the Northern Cape, said Danielskuil had been plunged into mourning following the murder, adding: “We as the DA as well as the entire community are mourning the sudden death and killing of councillor Baaitjies.”
The death came the day the DA’s Athol Trollip was elected the new major of Nelson Mandela Bay metro and has thrown Kgatelopele Municipality, where Danielskuil lies, into turmoil as it has left a hung council.
The DA had been expected to form a coalition government in the area after joining forces with other opposition parties to unseat the ANC.
The ANC was severely shaken by the recent local elections which saw its support fall to 54% as it lost control of key metropolitan areas such as Johannesburg and Tshwane.