Elections: parties promise tolerance

2011-03-11 00:00

WITH just over two months left before the local government elections on May 18, KwaZulu-Natal political parties yesterday committed to promoting political tolerance and discouraging their members from participating in violence.

The parties made this pledge during a summit in Durban to promote peaceful and free and fair elections in the wake of the resurgence of political violence in parts of the province.

Hosted by the KZN provincial government and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the summit included representatives from religious communities, traditional leaders, state security agents and the National Intelligence Agency.

A resolution was adopted committing the parties to discouraging their members from using inflammatory language, hate speech, name calling, incitement or intimidation.

IEC CEO Pansy Tlakula, said the IEC hoped the leadership would come out of the summit with a renewed commitment “to persuade supporters to desist from internal fights that have turned friend against friend and neighbour against neighbour”.

Premier Zweli Mkhize called upon political parties to respect the rule of law and allow democratic processes to unfold. “The people of KwaZulu-Natal must be given the opportunity to choose parties and leaders of their choice during the elections,” he said.

Delegates undertook to support the actions of the police in crime prevention, arrests and prosecutions of perpetrators of violence without fear or favour. A multi-party task team to promote political tolerance and peaceful elections was established.

Among the parties represented were the ANC, Inkatha Freedom Party, Independent Democrats, National Freedom Party, Freedom Front, Cope, African Christian Democratic Party, Minority Front and the Democratic Alliance.

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