KZN is ready to host a free, fair and peaceful election, says Mchunu

2014-04-21 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL is ready to host a free, fair and peaceful general election come May 7.

That is according to the Executive Statement on monitoring and law enforcement by the Transport Department and Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu.

Mchunu told members of the provincial legislature on its last day, last week, that it was not so long ago that the province was characterised by “no-go” areas.

He said political activity was shaped by the detestable and ignoble legacy of apartheid’s “divide and rule” policies.

“Our people found it easy to resort into killing each other — for ‘political reasons’,” said Mchunu.

Mchunu recalled that at one point, former president Nelson Mandela called on all people of influence — “political leaders from every party; traditional leaders; religious and community leaders — all of us have an obligation to ensure a climate of tolerance”.

Mchunu said Mandela’s words exactly 15 years ago remain relevant today. He said except for a few incidents in areas described as “politically violent hotspots”, such as KwaMashu hostel in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality and Wembezi in uMtshezi Municipality, and in Richmond, the province overwhelmingly enjoys peace and stability.

“Free political activity thrives. Elections are elections, our people are free to exercise their rights which are enshrined in our treasured Constitution.”

Mchunu added that in 2014, “when we celebrate our 20 years of freedom and democracy, we will be better off applying our past experience to ensure a peaceful election environment, come the seventh of May”.

He said their plan for the 2014 general elections monitoring and law enforcement was approved by the Executive Council. He said it includes the facilitation of a local and international election observer mission to observe the election process as a whole from the perspective of eminent international persons and ordinary South Africans. These will provide 175 accredited independent private sector lawyers as a legal resource to resolve legal questions and disputes within voting stations on voting day.

Mchunu said monitoring of police deployment and policing on voting day will be done by departmental officials and that a Multi-Party Political Intervention Committee will intervene in and resolve political conflicts before and after elections. He said there was also a Provincial Priority Committee comprising all the role-players in the safety and security sector. “This committee will oversee and coordinate law enforcement before, during and after the general elections. The committee meets on a weekly basis,” said Mchunu.

The province has 4 746 voting stations. The PPC has categorised these stations into low-, medium- and high-risk stations based on an intelligence analysis. Mchunu said 128 voting stations are high-risk; 756 voting stations are medium-risk; and a majority (3 862) of the voting stations are low-risk.

The opposition parties including the DA, IFP and Minority Front welcomed the statement and pledged their support.

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