KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda. File picture: ANA

Johannesburg - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Thursday urged KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety MEC Mxolisi Kaunda to take practical actions in the fight against crime in the Maqeleni area instead of holding community prayer meetings.

Kaunda held a community prayer meeting on Thursday in Maqeleni in eShowe. The area has been rocked by violence sparked by allegations of stock theft, resulting in houses being torched and people being killed.

''The IFP is of the opinion that prayer without action is powerless because our loving God gave humans free will. When we use that free will to do unacceptable and unspeakable atrocities, we cannot expect Him to reach down from heaven and fix it. Furthermore, our country is blessed with many religious organisations and anointed men and women of God who are always praying for all these atrocities in our country,'' IFP community safety spokesman Blessed Gwala said in a statement.

He said Kaunda should choose whether he wants to become a church pastor or remain MEC.

''The MEC has been ill-advised to hold a prayer instead of ensuring that criminals that are on a rampage and killing people at Maqeleni are arrested without any delay. Therefore, the honourable MEC must choose whether he wants to be a pastor or the MEC. He cannot be a player and a referee at the same time.''

According to media reports, residents of Maqeleni, a small farming community, has been plagued by violent crimes linked to stock theft. Several people have been killed and families attacked in their own homes. In a statement dated 12 February, Kaunda's office said seven people had been killed and there had been four attempted murders. No arrests have been made for the killings, but three people were arrested in connection with attempted murder cases.

African News Agency (ANA)