121109 UNDER CLOUD: Albert Park ward councillor Vusi Khoza outside the Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday, where he could face charges of murder relating to the deaths of two foreign nationals earlier this year.picture: terry haywood

Durban - The former Albert Park councillor who was given a three- year suspended sentence for public violence and conspiracy to commit assault, has been unveiled as the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) premier candidate for KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking on Monday, Vusi Khoza was adamant that there was nothing wrong with him contesting the elections despite his November 2012 conviction.

He pointed out that there were other MPs with past criminal convictions, the ANC’s Winnie Mandela being one.

According to the constitution, people convicted and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment without the option of a fine cannot become a member of the provincial legislature or the national assembly. This expires five years after the sentence has been completed.

“We have sought legal opinion and are satisfied that I do qualify. We’re a very serious party, we’ve done our homework, otherwise my name would not be there,” Khoza said.

Khoza’s conviction stemmed from his involvement in what was believed to be a xenophobic attack on foreigners at Albert Park in December 2009.

A Zimbabwean man and a Tanzanian man were killed during the attack.

Khoza has, however, denied any involvement.

At the time of the incident he was an ANC councillor, but by the time the matter was concluded in court, Khoza was the provincial secretary of the National Freedom Party (NFP).

He resigned from the post following his conviction and is now the provincial convener of the EFF.

He says despite the little visible media attention the EFF has been getting in KZN, the party stands to do well.

“We have not been doing any high-profile campaigns, mainly because there are those parties that like to disturb us.

“We are, however, hard at work on the ground and we are certain that if we do not win the province, we can be the deciding factor,” he said.

The EFF has found it hard to campaign freely in the province, he said. ANC members were arrested in January when they tried to block EFF leader Julius Malema in Nkandla, where he was to hand over a house to one of President Jacob Zuma’s neighbours.

The first major EFF rally in KZN, he said, would be held on Freedom Day (April 27), and was to be addressed by Julius Malema.

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