The 502 vacant council seats comprise of 391 proportional representative (PR) seats and 111 ward seats. Of the 391 PR seats‚ 93 seats became vacant due to the deaths of councillors while the remaining 281 were as a result of resignations.
Mosery said of the 93 PR seat vacancies resulting from death‚ 19 were confirmed as deaths arising from unnatural causes which may include murder and vehicle accidents. Of the 111 ward seat vacancies‚ 31 were as a result of deaths of the elected representatives.
Mosery said of the 31 ward vacant seats they were able to ascertain that 19 were as a result of death by unnatural causes which may include murder‚ vehicle accidents or other causes.
Mosery also told the commission that political killings have an impact on voter apathy and voter disillusionment as a result of political representatives’ unnatural deaths.
Mosery said another impact was that political killings eroded “the quality of our constitutional democracy where it undermines the integrity and stature of elected representatives as killings give an impression of valueless roles of elected officials”.
He said in comparison with other provinces‚ KwaZulu-Natal still showed more cases of political intolerance.
The breakaway of the NFP from the IFP in 2011 had brought a “new set of circumstances” which encouraged the provincial government and the Electoral Commission to set up a multi-party political intervention committee.
Mosery said the committee intervenes in areas where there are political tensions such as Nongoma‚ Mvoti (Greytown)‚ uMtshezi (Etscourt) and hostels in Durban.
“The committee has been successful in resolving conflicts between political parties and between communities. However‚ in intra-party conflicts and tensions‚ it has been almost impractical‚” he said.
He said usual cases of political intolerance included interfering with other political parties such as the disruptions of campaigns‚ blocking one another from having access to a particular community and defacing of posters.
“The experience and exposure we had is that when tensions or political differences are within a political party‚ firstly it is difficult to identify who are differing parties to that tension or conflict within the political parties.
“Secondly‚ political parties tend to say we have our own internal mechanisms to resolve our differences. They do not welcome an external intervention. And thirdly‚ there is reluctance to share details of the tension and conflict within the party with an external body or institution like ours and consequently individuals do not submit themselves to any process that would either conciliate or mediate by the commission as well as the multi-party political intervention committee‚” said Mosery.
The Moerane Commission continues on Tuesday with Stats SA expected to give evidence. It is expected to submit its report by the end of March.