KwaZulu-Natal - The NFP said on Sunday it was disgusted by the “political tricks” the IFP had used to prevent by-election campaigning at the KwaMashu hostel, in KwaZulu-Natal.
The National Freedom Party said on Thursday it was postponing its KwaMashu by-election campaign plans for Friday, because the Inkatha Freedom Party was holding a memorial service the same day.
“Although we had already planned our election campaign... we decided to postpone our campaign to a date still to be announced in order to give them time to mourn their loss,” NFP leader Zanele KaMagwaza Msibi said at the time.
“It is prudent that the family and the IFP be given an opportunity to conduct the memorial service with dignity,” she said.
However, the NFP said on Sunday it was “disappointed” to learn that the IFP did not hold a memorial service that day for Sihle Biyela, 34, the IFP's KwaMashu hostel block leader and branch executive committee member who was shot dead last week.
“It is now clear to us that there no memorial service planned but the IFP was just making a political trick to stop us from holding our by-election campaign,” said KaMagwaza-Msibi.
IFP spokesman Mntomuhle Khawula was not immediately available for comment.
KaMagwaza-Msibi said the IFP's move “smacked of political intolerance”, which was also evident during the violence at the hostel last Sunday when clashes erupted while she was visiting the hostel to campaign for the by-election.
A Sapa reporter's car was set alight and several other were pelted with stones in the clashes. Eight people were arrested.
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said in a rally on Saturday that the media had made a “meal” out of the protest.
“(That was) when the leader of the NFP rolled into town unannounced with her convoy of 30 cars, seeking to campaign for next week's by-election,” he said.
“But I have pointed out in the same media that a powder keg has been created in KwaMashu and, under the circumstances, this community should be applauded for its patience.”
Five people have been killed in the area in recent months. - Sapa