DURBAN - The IEC in KwaZulu-Natal has confirmed a first round of by-elections in the province after the death of three councillors in two municipalities.
According to the Electoral Act, in the event of the resignation or death of a ward councillor, the IEC is tasked with initiating a by-election, to make way for administrative order in municipalities.
The IEC announced that four wards in the province were up for grabs on February 2.
The IEC spokesperson in KZN, Thabani Ngwira, said three of the four existing positions for ward councillors were on account of deaths.
“The vacancies in three of the four wards that are being contested were created as a result of the death of councillors. Only one vacancy in Okhahlamba was as a result of resignation of the elected councillor. These councillors were elected posthumously. Because this happened in the middle of an election, first seating to constitute a council had to take place and the municipal managers had to declare vacancies. In terms of the law of the commission, there must be a by-election within 90 days after the declaration of a vacancy,” Ngwira said.
One of the three wards where the councillor had died is Nongoma’s ward 17, where National Freedom Party candidate Dumisani Qwabe was killed before the elections in November.
The Daily News reported that Qwabe was found with a gunshot wound and burnt beyond recognition in his car, October 26. His death was believed to be politically motivated, and was subsequently handed over to the political killings unit within the the national department of police.
Ngwira said the commission was working with the law enforcement agencies in a co-ordinated plan to monitor the places most at risk of conflict.
“I can confirm that the commission is engaging with Joint Security Structures and law enforcement agencies to assess conditions on the ground in all the affected municipalities. A decision on deployment of these forces will be taken once that assessment is concluded,” Ngwira said.
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