The South African Council of Churches (SACC) yesterday called on voters not to disrupt today’s elections, as voting is the best way to change one’s living conditions.
Acting chief executive of the council, Reverend Cannon Lulama Ntshingwa, said the Eastern Cape Provincial Council of Churches (ECPCC) “calls for restraint and allow all people of this province to exercise their hard-earned democratic right to vote for a party or individual of their choice that will make a difference in the lives of South Africans, especially those that still live in poverty.”
The SACC is an inter-denominational forum that unites 36 member churches and organisations.
The council was central in the campaign to unban political parties, and the end to apartheid rule pre-1994. Over the past few weeks the council had held several prayer sessions for a “peaceful election”.
This follows protests in several areas across the province over candidates fielded by the ruling party to contest as ward candidates.
Buffalo City’s Ward 1 and 20, Nelson Mandela Metro’s Ward 23 as well as in several wards in Ingquza Hill and Mhlontlo local municipalities were some of the areas that experienced tension that even led to the closure of roads by disgruntled communities. In Ingquza Hill, three wards blockaded roads and shut down the CBD resulting in police firing rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the mobs.
In NMB the tensions resulted in the death of Walmer ANC ward candidate Nceba Dywili last week.
Dywili was campaigning with Human Settlements Minister and ANC NEC member Lindiwe Sisulu shortly before he was shot dead.
Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has set up a task team to investigate a spate of political killings ahead of today’s elections.
In KwaZulu-Natal 12 ANC councillor candidates have been killed.
“It is a humble and prayerful plea to all Eastern Cape (citizens) not to disrupt these elections because it is the results in the voting box that will determine change in our living conditions,” Ntshingwa said.
Yesterday, the Dispatch reported that two voting stations were inaccessible on Monday, the day open for special voting, due to service delivery protests in Ward 6, Ntabankulu.
The Electoral Commission’s provincial head Thami Mraji said Ntabankulu, Bizana and Elundini had been identified as election hotspots.
Ntshingwa said the ECPCC noted with concern the number of hotspots in the province. — firstname.lastname@example.org