Special law enforcement team to deal with election issues in KZN

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Law enforcement agencies in KwaZulu-Natal have urged all political parties and independent candidates in the province contesting the general elections, to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct. The Director of Public Prosecutions in KZN, Elaine Harrison says a special team has been set aside to deal with election related matters.

The province accounts for most of the political violence that happens in South Africa, which occurs around election time as political assassinations increase.

Fifty-two parties will be contesting the elections nationally. Thirty-three are registered to contest in the province with one independent candidate. The IEC says the pledge ensures that political parties adhere to the code of conduct.

“The code of conduct reinforces tolerance and respect for diversity and the peaceful resolution and this is essential for the functioning of a healthy democracy and the fostering of trust between citizens and the elective representation. We know that political violence and intimidation can undermine the integrity of the electoral processes and deter citizens from exercising their right to vote but complying with the code political parties help prevent such incidents and contribute to a peaceful electoral environment,” says IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya.

Political leaders in the province have vowed to go to the polls peacefully.

“We undertake to promote political tolerance. We say this because we know that the entire world will be focusing on KZN. We pledge our commitment to conduct ourselves in a manner that respects and upholds the constitution of the republic,” says IFP’s Thami Ntuli.

“We commit to participating in this election with integrity and accepting the outcomes recognizing our commitment to unity which transcends political differences,” says DA’s Chris Pappas.

“We have capacitated all our fighters on the importance of peaceful campaigning, as well as dos and don’ts during the election period, we are confident we will execute this task with maximum discipline,” says EFF’s Mongezi Twala.

The new kids on the block uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK Party) also committed to ensuring a free and fair election.

“As we sign this code of conduct, we seriously subject ourselves to its provisions and do so in the full knowledge that free and fair elections starts with us who contest in these elections,” says MK Party’s Nhlanhla Ngidi.

Party leaders were warned that law enforcement will take a no tolerance approach.

“One of the things that the prosecution has decided was that all the murder related cases which are election related will be dealt with by the organized crime units in KZN. Therefore, we are expecting that the political task team that was elected to work in KZN will closely work together with the organized crime with regards to all the murder-related cases,” says Elaine Harrison, Director of Public Prosecutions.

Seventeen thousand additional law enforcement officers will be deployed in hotspot areas across the province.

“Political leaders, yes, we have high risk zones because of you and the high-risk voting stations are a result of the people who don’t want to tolerate each other who violate each other’s rights as contained in the constitution. So, that forces us to increase the number of police officers in voting stations in order to prevent crime. Please give us space, we have a lot of criminals out there who are raping, stealing and killing. We should be focusing on those and not policing those who have a right to go and vote,” says Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, KZN Provincial Commissioner.

The IEC says out of 27, 79 million people registered to vote in the country, KZN tails Gauteng with the highest number of voters.