Durban - The deployment of more police to volatile areas in KwaZulu-Natal before the May 7 elections is only a temporary solution, Community Safety MEC, Willies Mchunu, says.
He appealed to parties yesterday to ensure their members refrained from political intolerance and violence.
Mchunu said it was only the leaders in these places who could ensure there was peace.
Speaking at a multiparty meeting in volatile Wembezi C Section outside uMtshezi (Estcourt), Mchunu said while the situation had improved in many parts of KZN, including once-volatile Ulundi and Nongoma, places such as the KwaMashu hostel and Wembezi remained troublesome.
“No matter how many police we deploy in these areas, they are not a permanent solution. When we started the talks here in uMtshezi, we said that no one will put an end to the political slayings except for the leaders (in the town),” Mchunu said.
The MEC said when police had been deployed in uMtshezi before, the violence subsided, but it had flared again when they left.
“By October last year, after the police had been removed… about two people were getting murdered each week,” he said.
Mchunu said police would be dealing decisively with crime at the KwaMashu hostel. Despite the political violence there, the hostel had become a haven for criminals.
KZN’s electoral officer, Mawethu Mosery, said he believed that many interventions by the government and security agencies would ensure the elections were peaceful.
Even in previous elections, few incidents had been reported on election day.
Peace should be maintained even after the May 7 polls because soon after these, preparations would begin for the 2016 local government elections, Mosery said.
He appealed to members of parties to canvass for support instead of resorting to violence.
“To get a seat (in the legislature), parties will need about 63 000 votes, so killing one person from another party is not going to make a difference,” he said.
Representatives of the DA, National Freedom Party (NFP), ANC and the IFP pledged to ensure peace in the area.
IFP councillor Mthembeni Majola appealed for peace.
“I have forgiven those who shot me. It doesn’t, however, mean that I am a coward now that I am in a wheelchair.”
Majola was shot several times in July 2010 by unidentified gunmen near his home in Esigodlweni.
The NFP appealed to Mchunu to review the leadership of the police station, saying the commissoner was aligned to the ANC. It was also alleged the police leadership in the town was biased.
Mchunu called on parties with proof of wrongdoing to present this so he could act on the allegations.