Tensions rise as polls approach, say pundits

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Political analysts have warned of serious problems if the recent clashes between IFP and ANC leaders in KwaZulu-Natal were taken lightly.

Political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu described the simultaneous sitting of the provincial legislature and holding of a prayer meeting next to each other as "gloves beginning to come off early". He said it was an indication that both parties wanted to score political points.

Yesterday the ANC-led government held a legislature sitting in Vryheid, while metres away the IFP-led Zululand district municipality held its annual prayer day.

The two events were separated by a concrete fence.

"The stakes are very high in this province," Ndlovu said. "We are going to see many more such things happening as elections approach.

"Last week everybody saw what happened between Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Mike Mabuyakhulu and we are likely to see more of that."

Last week Buthelezi shocked the nation when he poked Mabuyakhulu in the face during freedom celebrations in Macambini.

This was after Mabuyakhulu said the provincial house of traditional leaders had recommended that the positions of chairman and deputy be made permanent.

Mabuyakhulu recently announced that the provincial government had decided that the positions of chairman and deputy should become full-time posts from next month.