The Democratic Alliance has condemned “the cold-blooded assassination” of its councillor, Johannes Baaitjies, on Wednesday night. 

In a statement on the DA website, it said “Baaitjies was found lying on his face on the main road between Danielskuil and Postmasburg [Wednesday] night. He was shot twice in the head and once in the upper body, and dragged a distance before being dumped.

“It is suspected that his murder was politically motivated, as Baaitjies received death threats shortly after winning Ward 2 in Danielskuil on August 3rd 2016, successfully wrestling it away from the ANC.

“Baaitjies, along with his fellow councillors, was meant to be officially sworn into council at the Kgatelopele municipality today. The intention was that the two DA councillors, together with the two councillors from the Kgatelopele Community Forum (KFC), would form a coalition government and take control of the municipality from the ANC…

The council is now officially a hung council, but the DA says it will contest the upcoming by-election for ward 2, promising to work harder this time to ensure they take it with an increased majority.

“We will do this in remembrance of Johannes Baaitjies and we will do this for the people of Danielskuil who deserve better.”

Baaitjies leaves behind his wife and three sons.

Baatjies is not the first South African politician to have been murdered this year. In the lead-up to the local elections on 3 August 2016, several councillors – particularly from the ANC and in KwaZulu-Natal – were killed in what was believed to have been politically-motivated murders.