Political bigotry rampant

2013-11-08 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL parliamentarians came out guns blazing at those people who fuelled political intolerance and violence when efforts were being made to ensure lasting peace and stability in the province.

The failure to address issues like the so-called blue-light incidences did, however, raised concern, with a brief promise that “it would be looked into”.

The parliamentarians made the statements when Safety and Security MEC Willies Mchunu tabled a report before the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature on incidents of initiatives to combat crime, political violence, crime statistics for 2012/13, taxi violence and service delivery protests.

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s N.P. Msimang said it was a concern that some people in the province still do not embrace political tolerance.

He lashed out at leaders who made wild accusations when they did not know who was behind killings that could be construed as politically motivated.

“What is disturbing is what we as leaders say can cause violence,” Msimang said.

Referring to this week’s killing of a NFP leader in Ulundi, ANC’s Linda Hlongwa-Madlala said the government’s efforts to bring about peace were spoiled by those hellbent on perpetuating political violence.

“It is sad that while you try everything, people don’t understand we can co-exist. We hope our men in blue will arrest the perpetrators,” Hlongwa-Madlala said.

In his response, the MEC said he echoed the parliamentarians in condemning those who politicised killings before police investigations were conducted.

In his report, Mchunu listed progress made in developing community safety partnerships in the fight against crime such as:

• KwaZulu-Natal Council Against Crime;

• 260 safety forums and 1 332 crime prevention volunteers deployed throughout the province; and

• The formation of 166 community policing forums.

He also listed interventions made in areas affected by political violence and service delivery protests.

On taxi violence, Mchunu said the recent eruption of violence in kwaDukuza had led to the deployment of police and request to investigate involvement of security companies in the conflict.

However, Mchunu’s report came under fire for failing to report on issues such as blue-light incidents and inefficiency of the police identified by the commission of inquiry in 2007.

“This report is silent on the abuses of the blue lights that put people’s lives at stake,” DA’s Sizwe Mchunu said.

He also decried the delay in tabling the Democratic Alliance’s private members bill on community safety to help improve partnership with communities and other policing matters.

IFP’s Blessed Gwala said it was disturbing that despite the African National Congress being in power in KZN for nine years, it was still setting up structures to fight crime and there was inaction against police officers found to be in the wrong.

Mchunu replied that his department was “addressing things that were done wrongly by the IFP when it ran the province between 1994 and 2004”.

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