Durban — The National Freedom Party (NFP) has called on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to formulate a policy on how to punish parties whose members have been found to have killed councillors.
In a statement issued by the party leader Canaan Mdletshe on Sunday he called on the IEC to hold parties accountable for their members’ action like it happens in football.
The Premier Soccer League punishes the club if their supporters misbehave in a stadium. In one instance Kaizer Chiefs had to play a certain number of home games without supporters as a punishment for wayward behaviour of fans in 2018.
Mdletshe said if IEC would take a similar approach, parties would stop accepting hitmen as their members and even allow them to stand as candidates.
He said that parties would do thorough vetting not based on criminal record but the member’s standing in the society should also be considered, adding that izinkabi (hitmen) are known in the society despite having not been arrested.
“As the attacks and the assassination of councillors rises rapidly especially in KZN and the Eastern Cape, the NFP calls on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa to take extra measures in preventing the killings.In recent weeks, there has been an unprecedented upsurge in killings of councillors, especially in KZN, with at least two brutally killed and two attacked in a space of a month."It's a worrisome and in fact a saddening trend where municipalities have become killing fields where councillors are butchered. "In actual fact, signing the IEC acceptance form is like signing a death warrant,” said Mdletshe.
He added that an NFP councillor in Nongoma has been attacked twice in a space of a week and luckily, she has survived both attacks. He said while his party welcomes and applauds the law enforcement agencies for making arrests, the continued killings demonstrate that arresting the perpetrators is clearly not enough.
“It is behind this background that stricter and tougher measures must be put in place.Since all registered political parties sign a Code of Conduct each time there are elections, we are of the view that the IEC can play a meaningful role in the prevention of councillor killings, said Mdletshe
He said the Electoral Act should be reviewed and amended to empower the IEC to take action against any political party whose member has been arrested and convicted for any act of murdering a councillor or a political opponent. IEC is yet to respond to the NFP and would be added once received.
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