The Inkatha Freedom Party welcomes this opportunity for all parties contesting the Local Government Elections on 03 August 2016 to commit themselves to campaign and contest the election in an environment that reflects the true spirit of democracy.
Contesting democratic elections in an environment free of violence and / or intimidation has always been the foundation upon which our campaigns have been based from the inception of our Party. The IFP does not believe that there should be no-go zones or areas that the exclusive preserve of certain political parties, no matter how big or how small they might be. Citizens must be free to associate and identify with whichever political party that they feel best serves their interests.
As leaders of political parties we must ensure that the spirit of freedom that under pins our democracy is protected and promoted. We must lead by example and be responsible in our utterances and our behaviour. What we do and say will influence the way our supporters conduct themselves.
We note with concern the increasing number of service delivery protests that have been accompanied by violence and the destruction of property. It is of concern to the IFP that people who are unhappy about the candidate selection processes within their party have now embarked on protest action on our streets. These protest actions, if not addressed and stopped by the parties concerned, have the potential to destabilise communities and impede peaceful campaigning. It is unacceptable that residents who want to go about their daily lives in a peaceful manner and businesses that serve our people, are now existing in fear. No community can be at peace if there is the constant and ever present threat of violence flaring up at any time.
The IFP abhors internal party conflicts which have led to many killings over the past few weeks. Even though this has started as internal party conflicts, it has the potential to gravitate towards civil war. We call on all parties to address these conflicts wherever they may exist and resolve them peacefully.
As we head towards the elections we recommit ourselves to peace and fair play in our campaigns. I deliberately say “recommit” because the IFP has always been committed and has always championed the ideal of free and fair elections, and will continue to do so.
Let this signing ceremony not be a futile exercise, but let it be a reminder that we should uphold democratic principles at all times. As leaders of political parties and those who are charged with administering the electoral process, we must ensure that we collectively deliver free and fair elections.
Mr Blessed Gwala
IFP National Chairperson
078 290 5842