Parties believe polls will be peaceful in KZN

Key political parties contesting elections have downplayed the possibility of a surge of political violence in KwaZulu-Natal during and after the provincial and national elections. 

This is despite warnings by state security and a research study conducted by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC), which warned law enforcement agencies to be on the alert for possible election violence. 

The report by Swiss-based GI-TOC noted: “With violence used as a means of silencing opponents, controlling the struggle for succession, infiltrating local governance and influencing political outcomes.  

“Understanding this impact is particularly critical in the context of South Africa’s 2024 general elections. Previous analysis has shown that there are always spikes in political assassinations during election years, particularly in long-contested provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).” 

The GI-TOC report further warns that the ANC’s waning influence, on the back of high unemployment and crime rates, cost of living increases and widespread government corruption could be the key trigger to elections violence. 

It further highlighted that the situation could be worsened by the unresolved aftermath of the 2021 July unrest, where shopping malls were looted and scores of people killed in racially motivated vigilante attacks. 

Respected academic and violence monitor Mary de Haas has warned that skirmishes between political party supporters in recent by-elections in the province was a precursor for political intolerance.  

“Although the context is now different, the events of July 2021 showed how much damage could be done by covert, well organised and yet unidentified forces with an unknown agenda,” noted De Haas. 

Also complicating the war against possible violence, according to De Haas, were serious shortcomings in state intelligence apparatus and the SAPS investigative capacity.  

The ANC faces its strongest challenge yet in KZN with the emergence of the uMkhonto we Sizwe Party (MKP), led by former president Jacob Zuma. 

Violence broke out in KZN and parts of Gauteng in 2021 when Zuma was jailed on contempt of court charges.  

Since the emergence of the MKP late last year, tensions between the two parties have been on the rise. In one incident in Ntuzuma, a township in the south of Durban, an MKP supporter was arrested after brandishing a firearm on an ANC campaigner.  

ANC spokesperson in KZN Mafika Mndebele said although there had been several incidents where the party’s election billboards were vandalised, especially in eThekwini, the organisation did not think this would lead to political intolerance.  

“These were sporadic incidents of rogue individuals, and we have opened cases with police. But we don’t think there will be election violence in KZN because South Africa’s democracy has matured.”  

The DA, the third biggest party in the KZN provincial legislature, said it was worried the ANC was preaching war talk. 

“The ANC throughout their campaign have been saying they are invading KwaZulu-Natal. Who is their enemy, because we are political opponents and not their enemies? This is a shocking and unacceptable threat to democratic rights of the people of this province,” said DA KZN chairperson Dean Macpherson. 

He also highlighted that by uttering such a message, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa was suggesting he would mobilise violence against the people of KZN when they vote the ANC out of power. 

The IFP’s KZN premier candidate and party chairman Thami Ntuli said he believed peaceful elections would prevail in the province.  

“Whenever we went out on a campaign trail, we saw unity and tolerance among various parties. They campaigned side by side. In KZN there are no longer places which are known as no-go areas,” said Ntuli. 

Visit SW YouTube Channel for our video content


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News