Peaceful start in KwaZulu-Natal

2011-05-18 12:33

Voting got off to a predominantly peaceful start in KwaZulu-Natal, with only a handful of instances of election-related violence and intimidation reported by police.

There is a massive security force presence in parts of the province viewed as hotspots, including the hotly contested Zululand District Municipality in which the historical IFP strongholds of Ulundi and Nongoma lie.

Last night two party agents from the National Freedom Party and one from the IFP at Ulundi laid charges of intimidation against each other. All three have been arrested.

At KwaMashu in north Durban five men were arrested for Monday’s attack on an ANC ward councillor, while at Ndwedwe an IFP ward candidate, Musawenkosi Mahlobo, died yesterday after being assaulted while campaigning on Monday.

Generally, voting started slowly around the province.

At Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma cast his vote at Ntolwane school in his village of Nxamalala shortly after 10am, while his IFP counterpart Mangosuthu Buthelezi and NFP leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi did the same at nearby Ulundi.

Zuma said he was voting for the extension of the water supply to the entire community, tarring of roads and provision of piped water in the community, which is controlled by the IFP.

His arrival was greeted by ululating from his neighbours, several hundred of whom had already gathered at the school to vote.

Zuma was accompanied by Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Dr Brigilia Bam.Zuma later visited a polling station at the Eshowe town hall, where ANC supporters mobbed him, singing and toyi-toying as he arrived.

A group of IFP supporters led by their mayor elect for the Uthungulu District Municipality, Stan Larkan, also gathered outside the polling station, singing party songs and waving flags.

Zuma greeted Larkan and posed for photographers with him before leaving.

There were no confrontations between the groups, who continued to sing and dance after Zuma had left. Both Nkandla and Eshowe fall under Uthungulu.

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