Newly formed political parties gaining momentum for the upcoming general elections, have vowed to remain undeterred by acts of violence, bullying, threats and intimidation of any kind.
Political party Rise Mzansi, is the latest party to face intimidation, revealed recently that its organisers and volunteers were facing threats to their lives on a daily basis.
According to the party’s chief organiser, Makashule Gana, over and above the threats received by their members, within days of their election posters going up they discovered that their posters had been discarded in dumpsters or burnt.
“To the agent provocateurs, some identifiable, others faceless; and those abusing state power, we say, we will not bend to thuggish and illegal behaviour. The life of the country and the lives of the people are at stake.”
Gana said that in terms of the Electoral Code of Conduct, “no person may deface or unlawfully remove or destroy the billboards, placards or posters or any other election materials of a party or candidate”.
In spite of the acts of bullying, experienced on a weekly basis, he said, on average, as many as 20 000 South Africans were still heeding the call to rise up for the better country they deserve.
“Rise Mzansi’s presence and impact in all parts of the country is not in dispute. In fact, this movement for the people and by the people has shaken the political establishment; and as a result, they have resorted to dirty tactics to suppress this growing movement.
“We will continue to take the People’s Manifesto to all corners of the country, reigniting hope, guided by the constitutional and social democratic values of freedom, equality, justice, solidarity and integrity.
“We will continue to fight for the eradication of poverty, an end to racism, an end to inequality, and the employment of the people of South Africa,” Gana said.
The African Transformation Movement (ATM), established in 2018, has also experienced its fair share of bullying and intimidation, especially after its head offices in Mthatha has had at least three break-ins.
During the course of January, party spokesperson Zama Ntshona said they had experienced a break-in by “heavily armed” intruders at the party’s Mthatha head office on January 15 and 16, with the latest taking place on January 18.
During the repeated break-ins, Ntshona said the intruders gained access through the back, breaking a window to enter the building, making away with critical documents, hard drives, six laptops and other essential information -- something the party believed was indicative of more sinister motives at play.
This calculated act is particularly sinister given the upcoming election year, reinforcing the urgency for a thorough investigation into the motives behind these criminal actions, it said.
In a statement issued shortly after the third theft, the party urged law enforcement authorities to expedite their efforts to apprehend the culprits.
“The ATM, however, remains unshaken in its commitment to the principles of democracy and the pursuit of a corruption-free society.
“We urge our members and the community at large to stand firm with us during this challenging time, confident that justice will prevail.”