CONCERN OVER RISING VIOLENCE AHEAD OF SOUTH AFRICA’S LOCAL GOVT POLLS

South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it has noted with “grave concern” the rising levels of violence and intimidation characterising political and campaign activities ahead of this year’s local government elections.

“Incidents of what appear to be politically-motivated murders, assaults and other forms of intimidation of candidates have been reported across a number of provinces, including Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the North West over the past few days,” the IEC said in a statement here Wednesday.

“The Electoral Commission condemns in the strongest possible terms all unlawful conduct and any behaviour which contravenes the Electoral Code of Conduct and undermines our democratic process of free and fair elections.”

The IEC said violence, intimidation, destruction of property and intolerance had no place in a country with a Constitution based on respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy.

It called on all political leaders and candidates to speak out strongly against any conduct which undermined the conditions conducive to free and fair elections and especially the involvement of any of their members and supporters in such actions.

“Political leaders are ultimately responsible for the conduct of their supporters and members.

The Electoral Commission also reminds all political parties, candidates and voters that infringements of the Code of Conduct carry severe penalties including disqualification from elections,” the statement said.

South Africa will hold local government elections on Aug 3.

Source: Nam News Network

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