PRETORIA, Feb 18 — The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it is concerned about the recent incidents of political intolerance in the eastern South African province of KwaZulu-Natal ahead of the country’s May general election.
This came after supporters of South Africa’s ruling African Nationsl Congress (ANC) allegedly prevented supporters of the opposition National Freedom Party (NFP) from campaigning in Ntshongweni near Hillcreast, south of Durban, on Friday.
In a separate incident, two NFP supporters were shot in KwaMashu township on Saturday, allegedly by supporters of the Inkatha Freedom Party. Meanwhile, the ANC has tasked its leadership in eThekwini — the metropolitan municipality which includes the city of Durban — to reprimand its supporters in Ntshongweni.
ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said all campaigns should seek to ensure that there is peace and tolerance and that the elections are not the calling for re-emergence of political violence.
He also said that the ANC had taken a decision that they would engage their branch in Ntshongweni where there was tension between ANC and the NFP to ensure that such things do not happen. He has called on all structures and all people not to disrupt campaigns of other parties, but instead ensure political tolerance.
The IEC will compile an election time-table as soon as President Jacob Zuma proclaims the final election date in the Government Gazette. This comes after the IEC surpassed its target to register two million new voters by 17 per cent in its latest voter registration exercise.
The IEC says the election time-table will include the date on which political parties will be able to submit their candidates’ lists. IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said the commission’s biggest task was to put together an election timetable.
In that timetable, one of the key features will be a date by which political parties will submit their candidate list which is always one of the key dates. “Because immediately after that they would already be knowing which are the political parties that will be signing the electoral code of conduct, that says how they are coping, leading to the election in May,” Bapela said.