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Charges laid against candidate

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ca breytenbach & DIANNE-KOHLER BARNARD SONA

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DA MP Dianne-Kohler Barnard and Glynnis Breytenbach arrive for President Jacob Zuma's SONA. Photo: Ian Landsberg

Durban - The battle for Chatsworth’s ward 73 is hotting up with rival parties pointing fingers at each other as allegations of unfair campaigning emerge.

The DA was the latest to fire a salvo at the ANC on Tuesday, saying the ANC felt intimidated by the DA’s support in the ward before a crucial by-election next week.

The DA said it had laid charges against ANC members, including candidate Logan Chetty.

One of its members, Siva Dennis, had been assaulted by ANC members while campaigning at Ays Memorial Primary School, it said.

The assault had resulted in a serious asthma attack.

The DA also accused the ANC of tearing its documents in a separate incident.

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said both incidents had been reported to the police and Chetty had been implicated and charged accordingly.

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed that Dennis had laid assault charges, but said no arrests had been made as investigations were continuing.

Chetty, however, denied the allegations, branding them “rubbish” and an act of desperation by the DA.

“In fact I want to challenge the DA candidate to a public debate on these issues,” Chetty said.

He said the allegations were meant to tarnish his image, adding that he was a well-known community leader.

He currently serves as chairman of the Chatsworth Community Policing Forum.

He said he did not know of any charges against him.

The battle for ward 73 has been fierce as the ANC and the DA want to snatch it away from the Minority Front.

The ward is of major significance to the MF because its former leader, Amichand Rajbansi, lived there.

Another by-election will be held at Phoenix’s ward 52.

MF spokesman, Patrick Pillay, said the Chatsworth ward and the Phoenix ward were equally important to his party.

He downplayed suggestions that the MF stood to lose after a poor showing in the national elections last month.

“The national elections cannot be used to measure support for a ward election.

“We are confident that we will win these wards,” he said.

Pillay refused to comment on circumstances that led to the MF changing candidates who had initially been tipped to stand for election.

“All I can say is we have decided on candidates, but I am not prepared to discuss what happened in the run-up to that. The DA should focus on their own internal matters,” he said.

The MF this month lodged crimen injuria charges against Ronnie Pillay, the DA candidate who is a former member of the MF.

An MF party agent, Dolly Govender, claimed Pillay swore at her during an altercation.

The MF faces a possibility of having reduced representation at the eThekwini municipality, and if it loses its position as the fourth largest party in council it will automatically lose its Exco seat.

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