peace deal ends in verbal punch-up
The signing of the electoral code of conduct in KwaZulu-Natal was marred by finger-pointing and heated verbal accusations between the ANC, IFP and Cope in Durban yesterday.
Just minutes after all parties had signed on the dotted line - committing themselves to promoting free and fair elections - ANC provincial chairperson Zweli Mkhize accused the IFP of acts of political violence in rural areas like Nongoma and Ulundi.
"As the ANC we support the code of conduct and we will ensure that our members respect it. We call on other political parties to respect others and allow them to campaign freely without any fear or intimidation.
"But we are disturbed by the continued threats of violence to our members in Ulundi, Nongoma, Macambini and Escourt, where our members were attacked by the IFP.
"Our members have been attacked in hostels like the Seventeen, SJ Smith and in KwaMashu," he said.
But his statements were not well received by other parties.
UDM national chairman Bongani Msomi took a swipe at Mkize's "provocative rhetorical statements".
He said it was a pity that 15 years into democracy, the country, especially KwaZulu-Natal, was still dealing with incidents of political intolerance.
"Provocative rhetoric statements must come to an end now," he said.
Msomi also took a swipe at the IEC, accusing it of not treating political parties equally.
"The standards of Animal Farmshould not prevail.There shouldn't be political parties that are more equal than others."
Cope's representative Nkosinathi Mkhize accused the ANC of disrupting their meetings in Verulam, Inanda and Amaoti.
"The enemies of democracy might try to disturb our meetings but we will not abandon our right to hold meetings anywhere in the province."
IFP's national chairman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi said: "I am extremely disappointed at the remarks made by Mkhize, because they do not conform to the code we have just signed."
DA's Mike Ellis said: "We will contest the elections with oomph and courage. We will not accept there's a no-go area in this province."