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ANC worst intimidators, says community group

The ANC are the major culprits when it comes to political intimidation and KwaZulu-Natal is one of the worst affected regions, a report released on Wednesday found.

David Bruce, an independent researcher from the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (Case) released a report into political intimidation and violence on Wednesday. He found that encroachment into ANC strongholds frequently resulted in intimidation "of one kind or another".

And political killings specifically continue to be mostly restricted to KwaZulu-Natal, said Bruce.

"It was possible to identify at least 13 'apparent' political killings that I am aware of since the beginning of last years 15 months, and of those 12 out of 13 are in Kwazulu-Natal," he told the Mail & Guardian.

"Overwhelming what the research pointed to was that the ANC seems to be a primary role player in intimidation in South Africa at the moment."

Despite the perception that Mpumalanga was known for political killings in the past, Bruce said according to his information there had not been an apparent politically-linked killing since the beginning of 2011.

When the economic freedom fighters delivered a house to one of ANC president Jacob Zuma’s neighbours in Nkandla, they were confronted with violent protests from ANC supporters in the area. ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa rebuked the attacks soon after, defending the principle of freedom of political activity.

No serious action
But the ruling party, despite high-level statements condemning political intimidation "don't amount to a seriousness in terms of dealing with the problem," said Bruce. "It's possible that people will conveniently turn a blind eye because it helps the dominance of the party," said Bruce.

Instead the condemnations of violence are made for "media consumption".

"Part of maintaining the dominance of the ANC is allowing what you could call intimidation-lite to continue," Bruce added. "So it doesn't involve killing people. But it is basically intimidation and it is basically illegal."

The report was titled: "Just singing and dancing? Intimidation and the manipulation of voters and the electoral process in the build-up to the 2014 elections." It forms part of a project on factors affecting participation, by people in poorer communities, in the 2014 election.

 

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Verashni Pillay
Verashni Pillay is the former editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian, and inaugural editor-in chief of Huffington Post South Africa. She has worked at various periods as senior reporter covering politics and general news, specialises in mediamanagement and relishes the task of putting together the right team to create compelling and principled journalism across multiple platforms.

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