For a brief moment‚ peace reigned in northern KZN - Times LIVE
   
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Mon May 29 13:25:50 SAST 2017

For a brief moment‚ peace reigned in northern KZN

Nathi Olifant | 2017-05-18 15:50:20.0
From left: KwaZulu-Natal Community Saftey, Liason MEC Mxolisi Kaunda, KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu, IEC Chair Glen Mashinini, KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango, EFF's Vusi Khoza and NFP's Vikizitha Mlotshwa during the Nquthu Election Peace Prayer last week.
Image by: THULI DLAMINI

For three hours‚ 14 political parties contesting 17 Wards in the Nquthu municipal by-elections put aside their differences.

Peace reigned in an environment that has been beset by allegations of political intolerance.

The parties - all vying to win the northern KwaZulu-Natal municipality of Nquthu in a crucial by-election next week - gathered to sign an electoral pledge and code of conduct‚ and to observe a government-organised election peace prayer.

However‚ some contesting parties did not show up‚ even though they are part of the Provincial Multi-party Political Intervention Committee led by community safety MEC Mxolisi Kaunda.

Independent Electoral Commission chair Glen Mashinini said the IEC was ready for the elections.

"The preparations have been completed and arrangements are at an advanced stage. In short‚ it's all systems go‚" said Mashinini.

He urged political parties to commit to and observe the code of conduct‚ and decried political killings.

"It can't be that you are occupying that position at the expense of someone's body‚" he said.

Mashinini said the IEC's job was to ensure that the voters' roll was accurate and that it excluded those not eligible to vote.

"The electoral integrity depends on the accurate voters' roll‚" he said.

Mashinini said they have to comply with a Constitutional Court order to verify all addresses. However‚ he said this was presenting another challenge to the IEC: according to Statistics SA there are 15 million dwellings in South Africa but 8 million of those do not have a conventional address.

"We are trying to address this‚" said Mashinini.

Mashinini said while he admired politics of coalitions‚ he cautioned parties against entering this space‚ bearing in mind the consequences should the coalition collapse. In Nquthu‚ the entire council was disbanded after two coalitions - one led by the ANC and the other by the IFP - reached a stalemate and no office bearers could be elected.

"While coalitions are a global phenomenon they are not new‚ and countries like Germany and Israel govern through coalitions. However‚ it's a new phenomenon in South Africa. Please bear in mind that it's costly to arrange elections as that money could be going to service delivery‚" he said. "Those who win must extend an olive branch and reconcile with those they defeated."

Provincial electoral officer Mawethu Mosery said there were 81‚000 registered voters in Nquthu with 325 councillor candidates contesting 33 seats. An outright victory would require in the region of 42‚000 votes.

- TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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