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'Let's have peaceful campaigns'

By unknown | Oct 23, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The Independent Electoral Commission in KwaZulu-Natal has called on all political parties contesting next year's election to conduct their campaigns peacefully.

Provincial IEC head Mawethu Mosery said it was the duty of parties to ensure that their members behaved before, during and after the elections.

Mosery was commenting in the wake of several incidents of political intolerance in the region over the past month.

"Normally all the parties sign a peace pledge before the elections and are expected to abide by it," Mosery said.

"But in cases where members of parties vandalise campaign materials such as billboards it becomes a criminal matter.

"Parties can also approach the electoral court and lay a complaint. The IEC will investigate and if there has been any wrongdoing the party responsible will be withdrawn from elections or have votes deducted."

Meanwhile, the Umzinto police are investigating the first case of malicious damage to property after a billboard depicting IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi was set alight.

Police spokesman Captain Vincent Pandarum said it was a serious offence to damage or destroy campaign materials belonging to other political parties.

"We are looking out for these people and want to warn them of the serious consequences that could stem from such intolerant actions," he said.

IFP provincial secretary Bonginkosi Buthelezi condemned the incident.

He said the IFP would go all out to teach its members political tolerance.

But ANC Lower South Coast region secretary Mzwandile Mkhwanazi denied that the billboard was destroyed or set alight.

"Why would we do that, the IFP does not pose any threat to us," he said. "What actually happened is that IFP members tried to provoke people, with some of them firing shots during their door-to-door campaign."


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