Concern over voter safety because asin KZN Other issues the observers say need to be considered

2016-07-28 06:00

KZN will go to local government elections on high alert asELECTION observers have identified tons ofmany potential “hot spots” where violence may break out during the August electionpoll violence hot spots.

With less than two weeks before the local government elections, alarms have been raisedthere is concern over voter safety because asin the light of the politically motivated killings in the province that continue to mar the run-up to the elections in the province.

The Local Government Observer Mission, which was formed by the KZN Christian Council and other civil society groups, hasve identified more than 19 hot spots in the province.

These hot spots ares areas that have been marred byrecently experienced political killings, intra-party conflict, intimidation, community protests and service delivery protests.

They indentified include Imbali and Sobantu in Pietermaritzburg, rampant hostels in Durban’s KwaMashu and Glebelands, Newcastle, Kokstad and others.

Observers have won ofwarn that violent acts may erupt even after the local government elections.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 12 deaths in the province that have been believed to be politically motivated.

KZN Christian Council director Dr Douglas Dziva described the ongoing turmoilsituation as worrying.

“We are very worried. Political killings contri-bute to fear among the voters. Individual councillors and mayors have complained to us about the death threats.

“It looks like it is intra-party conflict with certain parties,” he said.

A dossier compiled by the observers calls for “serious attention in terms of security deployment” for Sobantu.

“The ANC [in Sobantu] is divided and two faction groups have emerged. Through dissatisfaction one member has come up and registered as an independent candidate.

“Sobantu community is against the ANC candidate. They allege it was imposed on them. Death threats written on a letter was circulated in the area. There is tension in the area,” reads the dossier.

The reportIt also further warns that free elections could be an “unattainable” dream for Glebelands hostel residents.

“There is an ongoing war among the residents. More than 30 people have been murdered. Early this year an ANC councillor was killed in the same hostel.”

The dossierreport further warns of rising tensions within the ANC in Durban townships.

“There are very serious tensions within the ANC since there was a regional conference where the current mayor [James Nxumalo] was defeated. There is an ongoing bitterness between the members of the ANC,” the dossier noted.

Dziva said 30 violence monitors, a group of master observers tasked to mediate in conflict situations, had been trained.

“They will now train 500 election observers to be deployed across the province on August 3,” he said.

There is an ongoing war among
the residents. More than 30 people have been murdered. Early this
year an ANC councillor was killed in the same hostel

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