IEC concerned by political unrest

2016-06-09 11:12
IEC. (Elmarie Jack, News24)

IEC. (Elmarie Jack, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - Ahead of the signing of the electoral code of conduct in KZN, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has raised concerns over incidents of political unrest that have besieged the province ahead of the August 3 elections.

Following a spate of killings here that have been linked to politics, political parties and independent candidates contesting the local government elections will sign the code of conduct today at Durban’s ICC.

Two former ANC ward 12 branch leaders, Simo Mncwabe and Nathi Hlongwa were shot and killed on the same day last week in two separate incidents.

A third ANC member‚ identified only as Makhathini‚ was murdered at Inchanga‚ halfway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg‚ also last week.

Both Pietermaritzburg and Durban have recently been besieged by violent protests over candidate lists.

Ahead of the signing of the code, provincial spokesperson Thabani Ngwira said the Commission was concerned about recent developments and that the “prevailing climate of incidents of intimidation, disruption and political intolerance must be managed by all political parties to ensure an environment conducive for a free and fair election”.

Ngwira stressed that the code of conduct is legally binding as it forms part of the electoral laws, and said its breach is prosecutable

“By signing this code of conduct political parties and independent candidates will be committing themselves and their supporters to a peaceful environment and the promotion of political tolerance ahead during and after the elections.”

The signing of the code will be overseen by church and faith leaders, the chairperson of the electoral commission Glen Mashinini, chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders Phathisizwe Chiliza; provincial government representative and SAPS acting provincial commissioner Major General Bhekinkosi Langa.

Meanwhile, newly sworn in Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda said there was a plan in place to “secure” the province ahead of the local government elections.

“We cannot allow this province and the country to be lawless. We need to ensure that this country enforces the law.

“We must have no mercy for people who violate the law. We need to build strong cases against those who break the law. People need to be made to understand that this country is not a banana republic,” said Kaunda.

He expressed the need for the law-enforcement agencies to assume a “pro-active approach” rather than being reactive.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

THE ANC in KZN yesterday denied claims that recent violent protests in the province had emanated from unhappiness over the party’s nomination process.

“We further reject the suggestion that the rise in the protests in the province is directly attributable to the disaffection of communities regarding the list processes.

“We reaffirm our undertaking that we will always be on the ground to listen to the concerns of our people. However, no amount of unhappiness can justify the destruction of property.

“The ANC is shocked and disappointed to learn that a place of faith and worship, Durban Christian Centre caught fire last night.

“In this regard, we call upon the Department of Community Safety and Liaison to deal decisively and throw the book to the perpetrators of violent protests and those guilty of destroying property,” said the party in a statement.

When later asked, ANC provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli said they had not been told of a link between the church fire and the protests. — WR.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  iec

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