Warning of political violence

2009-01-27 00:00

Political parties in KZN have expressed concern over signs of violence and political intolerance, that have started to emerge ahead of the general elections.

Yesterday the ANC in the province called on security agencies to be on high alert and to “make any necessary effort to curb instances of violence and intimidation that are emerging”.

Addressing the media in Durban yesterday, ANC provincial secretary Senzo Mchunu claimed there have been attempts “to cripple the ANC and instil fear” in its membership ahead of the elections.

He cited the killing of Sithembiso Cele, an ANC Youth League leader on the south coast, and that of Inkosi Mbongeleni Zondi as an example of killings targeted at ANC members and sympathisers.

Cele was shot at his house on Thursday evening while Zondi, a close ally of ANC president Jacob Zuma, was killed when unknown gunmen sprayed his car with AK 47 bullets in Umlazi on the same day.

While the police have said that Zondi’s assassination could be linked to taxi violence, Mchunu said that he “cannot see any other reason why inkosi Zondi could have been assassinated apart from the fact that he was a friend of the ANC”.

Mchunu said Zondi’s killing is part of a move to try and “close” the Msinga area to the ANC.

He said there have been attempts on the life of another inkosi, Daba Mthembu, also of Msinga, whom he described as another “friend” of the ANC.

Late last year, Mchunu said, Mthembu was attacked at his home by unknown men who shot at him with an AK 47. “Early this month another assassination attempt against him was thwarted by the police,” he added.

The ANC also expressed concern at reports of intimidation of its members in the Zululand area, where the party is vigorously campaigning ahead of a rally that will be held at Mona in Nongoma on Sunday and which will be addressed by Zuma.

Mchunu said an ANC motorcade was interfered with when ANC members were campaigning in the area.

On Sunday, the IFP will hold its meeting not far from the ANC rally, a move seen as provocative.

However, other major political parties with a presence in the province pointed fingers back at the ANC, accusing its members of intimidating the opposition.

IFP national chairwoman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi said the IFP is also concerned that there could be an emergence of violence before the elections. She cited the killing of Bonginkosi Dube (27), an IFP Youth Brigade leader at Mtubatuba earlier this month as an example that there were acts of violence aimed at the IFP. “We know for sure now that the murder was politically motivated as ANC members have been arrested in connection [with] this incident.”

Magwaza-Msibi denied allegations that the IFP will be holding its meeting at Nongoma to possibly disrupt an ANC rally. “We are holding a meeting because all the IFP districts should be holding their meetings this weekend so as to finalise their lists.”

She however warned that the ANC could be provoking the people of Nongoma if it were to bus people to its rally. “We do not know of any ANC supporters in Nongoma. I therefore suspect that the ANC will bus people from outside which might make the people of Nongoma feel threatened.”

Cope provincial coordinator, Nhanhla Buthelezi, said the ANC is to blame for the increasing levels of intolerance. “ … They [the ANC] are the perpetrators of intolerance and not victims of such as they want us to now believe now.”

The deputy leader of the DA in KZN, Sizwe Mchunu, also said that the leadership of his party had received reports of intimidation of party activists and supporters and said that he believed there might be an increase in such cases as we draw closer to the elections.

Provincial Electoral Officer, Mawethu Mosery said that while the IEC had not received any information on incidents of intimidation and violence, “any one incident is one too many to us and is cause enough to get us concerned”.

bmbanjwa@witness.co.za

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