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1999

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

POLITICAL INTOLERANCE

RELEASE ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK as ACTING NATIONAL SECRETARY

Speaking earlier this week at a workshop on political violence, Jenny Irish of the Network of Independent Monitors warned of the threat that political intolerance would pose to the upcoming elections. Irish reported that in some areas dominated by one party, political rivals have been prevented from canvassing. Indeed, a recent survey conducted by SABC and the Institute for Democracy in South Africa indicates that 25% of the electorate admits they would work to prevent political rivals from campaigning in their constituencies. As Ms. Irish pointed out, attitudes and actions of this sort make a mockery of democracy.

Ms. Irish has recommended that in areas where such behaviour proves to be incorrigible, the elections should be cancelled to prevent violence and bloodshed. The UDM is vehemently opposed to this soft option. It is the duty of the government and the IEC to address the cause and not the symptom. The UDM calls on the government to provide the IEC with sufficient resources for proper voter education and to mobilise law enforcement to designated hotspots. South Africans must not be short-changed in their election. We also ask all of South Africa’s political parties to come together, nationally and provincially, in a show of cooperation and civility for their constituencies.

Enquiries:
Ms Annelizé van Wyk
Acting National Secretary

16 April, 1999

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