Strife puts cloud over free and fair elections

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

Political analysts and various parties have expressed fear that next year's general elections are unlikely to be free and fair within the context of the ANC rift.

Constitutional expert Shadrack Gutto said unless the police and intelligence community nipped the creeping political intolerance in the bud, the country could slip into violence.

Gutto said the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) must summon political party leaders and get them and their party members to commit themselves to political tolerance.

Raymond Suttner, political analyst at the University of SA, said the country had entered a dangerous situation with "Zanufication" tactics being used against the ANC's opponents.

"Words like 'kill Shilowa', 'kill Lekota' are an incitement to violence. Previously, these were threats from people like [Youth League leader Julius] Malema. Now it seems they are acting it out in the violent breaking up of meetings and that is dangerous for our democracy," said Suttner.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said: "I worked in the ANC Youth League. I grew up in the ANC. I am not surprised. It is an old tactic of the ANC not to tolerate dissent."

ID leader Patricia de Lille welcomed a police warning to take action against politicians who use hate speech.

"Hate speech must not be tolerated and tough police intervention is needed to ensure that next year's elections are indeed free and fair."

National Democratic Youth Convention Gauteng chairman Siphumule Ntombelasaid Malema's utterances to "kill", eliminate, crush" and make people "run" should not come from a leader of SA's biggest youth organisation.