high praise for kzn peace team

THE IFP and ANC in KwaZulu-Natal have hailed the "sterling work" of the police task team set up to crack down on illegal firearms.

The parties said this had reduced gun-related violence significantly in Greytown.

MEC for community safety and liaison Willies Mchunu said since the joint task team of police and the military was deployed in July 170 illegal firearms had been recovered.

He said 405 rounds of ammunition had been confiscated, more than 100 people arrested and 19 stolen vehiclesrecovered.

"The Jewel of KwaZulu-Natal Midlands" had been plagued by political intolerance, resulting in the death of three councillors and many other people at the height of the national elections in April.

This prompted the province to establish a task team comprising Mchunu, Nomusa Dube of the ANC and Blessed Gwala and Bonginkosi Buthelezi of the IFP to hold regular bilateral meetings.

A police task team was also set up to root out any form of violence and crime in general in the area.

Mchunu described the task team's dedication as outstanding.

"Their actions in the defence of democracy and human rights must be emulated by all other officers.

"We are pleased to pronounce the Greytown area a stable and vibrant community.

"Two successful by-elections have been held without any hiccups. There have been no reports of deaths since the peace pact was signed," Mchunu added.

On nurturing the peace process and achieving political tolerance, Mchunu said it was important for local leaders to respect each other.

"Don't hurl insults at one another. In politics, you must play the ball, not the man.

"If you respect each other you will not be diverted from the path of peace, cooperation and the spirit of co-existence," he said.

Umvoti municipality mayor Petros Ngubane also praised the efforts. But he expressed reservations with the way the operation on illegal guns was conducted.

"Police seemed to have concentrated more on rural areas, ignoring locations and townships, and we view this as taking sides," Ngubane said.