The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has joined the growing number of voices condemning violence which broke out in Tshwane over the nomination of Thoko Didiza as the African National Congress(ANC) mayoral candidate for 2016 local government elections.
“We appeal to all voters and parties to ensure they respect the rule of law and rights of others,” the IEC said in a statement.
“We remind you that a candidate list is an internal party matter which the Electoral Commission cannot get involved in,” the IEC said.
The political unrest which has resulted in the torching of multiple buses and the blocking of major roads in Tshwane comes just days before the IEC is scheduled to host political parties at the signing of the Electoral Code of Conduct on Wednesday.
“In a democracy premised on plurality of political views it is important therefore, that elections take place in an atmosphere and climate of calm, peace and tolerance,” said IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela.
“The code places a positive obligation on the leaders of political parties to counsel their members and supporters to conduct themselves in a manner that is not inimical to the code,” continued Bapela.
Meanwhile the South African Police Services has established a joint operations centre to manage policing in Tshwane following the violent outbreak.
According to SAPS cases of malicious damage to property and intimidation have been opened.
Provincial Commissioner General Deliwe De Lange said anyone found committing crime will be arrested immediately.
“We are appealing to community members to remain calm and not to be involved in criminal activities,” said De Lange.
-Siphiwe Mchunu