Swine Flu

2009-04-29 00:00

On Monday an African National Congress Freedom Day victory parade to thank voters in the Swayimani area near Wartburg ended after an armed ambush left one supporter dead and at least six others injured. Two Inkatha Freedom Party supporters were arrested, and tension is reported to be “running high”. Residents are fearful, and it is hoped that an increased police presence will cool things down in what (to hark back to the bad days of the eighties) is regarded by some as an IFP area into which the ANC may not trespass.

The shootings are, of course, unacceptable — but it would, surely, have been naïve not to expect and prepare for something of the sort. ANC-IFP rivalry in the area had been smouldering during the run-up to the election, and any display of ANC triumphalism there afterwards was likely to fan IFP discontent into flame.

The incident gives us an idea of just how much work there is still to do in rooting democracy in all corners of the country. Naturally, as support for the IFP wanes and its fortunes fade, there will be those who are bitter and who are inclined to express themselves violently. Naturally, such individuals may resist the idea that all, of whatever political persuasion, have the right to vote as they choose and to campaign and be heard anywhere in the country. They have to be convinced otherwise, so that incidents like that at Swayimane become a thing of the past.

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