'We want upcoming elections to be run on a non-violent basis’

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Parliament of SA

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Parliament of SA

Published Mar 18, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on political party leaders to urge their members to desist from political violence.

Ramaphosa said on Monday that, as the ANC, they wanted people to be free to choose whoever they wanted to be their MPs, as doing so was their democratic right.

“We want these elections to be conducted on a non-violent basis where the people who want to go and vote are able to exercise their right without being coerced or threatened.

“We as the African National Congress and the ANC-led government will ensure there is safety from now right up to the elections,” the ANC president said.

Ramaphosa said all those who sought to undermine and take democracy for granted would face the consequences of their actions and attitudes.

“Obviously, the ANC is totally against violence, and we want these elections to be run on a non-violent basis.”

Ramaphosa’s warning comes after MK Party Youth League president Bonginkosi Khanyile promised to cause chaos if former president Jacob Zuma and the party he leads were not on the election ballot papers.

Khanyile vowed publicly there would be no elections if the MK Party was prevented from contesting the polls.

“If they remove the MKP and (former president) Zuma from the ballot as the face of the campaign and try to take our rights, there won’t be elections in South Africa,” he said.

However, the party’s spokesperson, Nhlamulo Ndlela, poured cold water on the notion the MK Party would disrupt the elections after there was a backlash to Khanyile’s comments from some government officials.

Fears of violence were also sparked and fuelled by an party-political dispute over the weekend, following which there were reports members of both the ANC and the IFP had engaged in a violent altercation that had led to some of them being hospitalised.

The attacks allegedly took place after the commemoration of the 110th anniversary of King Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo’s death in KwaCeza, outside Ulundi.

Recently, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni called on law enforcement agencies to apprehend those threatening violence if the elections do not go their way, stressing there would not be a repeat of the July 2021 unrest.

Saturday’s event almost descended into chaos when KZN provincial chairperson Siboniso Duma unceremoniously yanked the microphone away from Zulu traditional prime minister Thulasizwe Buthelezi while the two were on the podium.

Duma accused Buthelezi of hijacking a government programme. During his speech, Buthelezi had urged the provincial government to emulate the leadership style of the reigning Zulu monarch, King Misuzulu.

However, Duma accused the prime minister of having a tendency of speaking ill of ANC members every time he was given a platform.

“I didn’t give him a platform on the day – he just stood up and read his five-page speech. We only allowed him to the podium out of courtesy, and we thought he was going to introduce the king.

“From where we are seated, we think he (Buthelezi) has a serious misunderstanding of power. He does not understand the protocol,” he added.

The Star

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