Durban - The National Freedom Party (NFP) members, who left their KwaMashu Hostel homes following alleged death threats from their political rivals, are expected to return on Wednesday to vote under police guard in the municipal by-election.
The Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) KZN chief electoral officer, Mawethu Mosery, said the police presence had been beefed-up in the area.
On Tuesday, a handful of NFP members arrived in a convoy of vehicles at the IFP stronghold to campaign for their candidate Mzwemali Xulu.
Their arrival coincided with the special vote, for the elderly, sick and disabled.
Xulu is contesting the position against the IFP’s Sakhiwe Ngcamu and the ANC’s Sbongokuhle Mathonsi. The position was left open when the IFP councillor Themba Xulu was kidnapped and murdered in October.
NFP spokesman Skhumbuzo Zulu said many of those who had left their homes, fearing an attack, would need police protection to vote.
“Right now there are multi-party negotiations to restore peace here so that those who have been kicked out of their homes can return safely,” said Zulu.
The NFP gathered outside the hostel and the police led them inside.
As the convoy negotiated the narrow streets, NFP members threw away their complimentary party T-shirts, with Magwaza-Msibi’s image.
However, other people took the T-shirts and promised to vote for the NFP candidate.
“Most of our members are scared to come here following last week’s violence which left a number of cars damaged. Even now we are scared, but the police did a good job protecting us,” said Zulu.
IFP spokesman Edward Mngadi denied that NFP members had been chased from their houses.
“NFP members are welcome to come and vote as the IFP is committed to peace and free and fair elections,” he said.
Mosery said the IEC expected 17 000 people to vote at the hostel’s four voting stations.
“I’m confident this election will go well as we have not seen candidates’ posters being vandalised,” he said. - The Mercury