Just three months away from the polls, political intolerance is already rearing its ugly head in the province famous for its deadly flashpoints.
Clashes between the ANC and the National Freedom Party broke out on Friday in Ntshongweni, west of Durban, when members of the ruling party allegedly chased away campaigning NFP members.
NFP secretary-general Nhlanhla Khubisa said his party was campaigning in the Ntshongweni area when ANC supporters blocked the streets and burnt tyres.
“This was done so that the NFP could not campaign freely. ANC supporters in full ANC regalia hurled insults and swore at NFP supporters. In fact, ANC supporters were chasing the NFP away, and they said that the NFP was not needed at Ntshongweni,” said Khubisa.
He said the party had written a letter of complaint to the Independent Electoral Commission because the ANC supporters had of late become very intolerant of other political parties.
“This is nothing but negation of the principles of free and fair elections. It begins with freedom to campaign anywhere any political party wants to campaign,” he said.
Khubisa said the attitude of the ANC was a travesty of democracy.
“This is the attitude that the ANC wants to adopt throughout the period of campaigning, so that they want to make sure that they win the elections by hook or by crook. This kind of chicanery is condemned,” he said.
Provincial ANC spokesman Senzo Mkhize confirmed the incident, saying they had also received the official complaint from the NFP.
“We condemn the incident in the strongest possible terms. But our provincial secretary (Sihle Zikalala) will meet the leadership of the NFP over this. We will also act against those members found to have disrupted the NFP campaign. No matter the provocation, no one is allowed to block others from campaigning,” he said.
Mkhize said they would be speaking directly to their members about tolerance.
- Sunday Independent