Politically-motivated killings mar election build-up

A councillor candidate in Newcastle was shot dead at the weekend.

A voting station sign. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - It's less than a month before South Africans head to the polls in a high-stakes local government elections on 3 August.

The build up to election day has been marred by apparent politically-motivated killings, community protests, electoral court challenges, a major Constitutional Court ruling and clashes between the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and African National Congress (ANC) during Julius Malema's campaigning.

LISTEN: Violent protests remain a concern for the IEC

At least five ANC members were killed in KwaZulu-Natal in what is believed to be party infighting for councillor positions.

A councillor candidate in Newcastle was shot dead in front of her husband and children on Saturday night, making her the latest victim of suspected politically-motivated killings in that province.

Political analyst, Somadoda Fikeni, says unemployment is exacerbating the battle for positions within the ANC.

"Jobs are not being created with any speed or level of significance. Therefore, the only thing remaining for people's social mobility is politics, hence it has become a highly contested space."

In a statement, Cooperate Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen urged political party leaders not to incite violence during their campaigning.

Van Rooyen is confident the polls will be free and fair.

A major hurdle for the upcoming elections was whether addresses had to be included in the voters' roll.

Last month, the Constitutional Court found that the Independent Electoral Commission's failure to record the addresses of voters was inconsistent with the rule of law, but the court ruled the municipal elections could go ahead as planned.