The African National Congress (ANC) on Monday called on its rival, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), to stay away from its rallies.
The ANC was responding to the IFP’s decision to hold a rally near to where the ruling party held a rally in KwaZulu-Natal’s Nseleni area on Sunday.
The IFP held the rally there despite a Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling ordering the party not to hold a rally within 5km from where the ANC rally was held.
”We call on the IFP to stay away from our rallies. They must stop following us around and develop their own election programme.
”As the ANC we have developed our own election programme up until the day of the election, April 22 2009,” said ANC provincial secretary Senzo Mchunu in a statement.
ANC supporters were also recently accused of disrupting the meetings of the National Democratic Convention and the Congress of the People.
”We assure the IFP and any other party that they can go to any parts of this province and we will not disrupt any of their meetings or campaign activities. As the ANC we stand for peace and democracy and subscribe to the notion of free and fair campaigning,” added Mchunu.
He called on the police to act swiftly against the IFP for defying the court order.
Meanwhile, the IFP on Monday said that it did not deliberately defy the court that barred it from holding the rally.
”The Inkatha Freedom Party wishes to place on record that the court ruling that ordered it not to hold its rally within 5km from the venue of the ANC’s rally at Nseleni last weekend was only communicated to the local IFP leadership when their rally was already in progress,” said IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango in a statement.
Police confirmed on Sunday that a case of illegal gathering was being investigated. No one, however, was arrested in connection with the gathering and the crowd was not dispersed by the police.
”We have the deepest respect for the rule of law and we would never have contravened a court ruling if it had been brought to our attention in time to allow us to redirect our election activities elsewhere in accordance with the ruling,” said Mncwango.
He said the IFP abided by its own election campaign schedule, which was agreed on by its leadership last year and which ran ”independently of the ANC’s campaign activities”.
”We are not privy to the ANC’s campaign plans and we have no business whatsoever interfering with the ANC’s election events,” said Mncwango. — Sapa