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KZN authorities ready to maintain peace at polls

KwaZulu-Natal has recorded the highest number of political killings since campaigning started.

ANC offices in KZN.Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal authorities say the Electoral Court's decision to disqualify the National Freedom Party (NFP) from the elections has the potential to cause instability in parts of the province.

But they remain confident that law enforcement agencies will maintain peace at the polls.

Yesterday, Community Safety MEC Mxolisi Kaunda and his counterparts in Cooperative Governance, along with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) delivered a final state of readiness address, giving assurances that the election will be peaceful, free and fair.

KwaZulu-Natal has recorded the highest number of political killings since campaigning started.

Kaunda presided over the police parade where over 1,500 officers will be deployed across the province to strengthen visibility in hotspots.

WATCH: KZN government says it's all systems go for #Elections 2016

His spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said they have met with all political parties, including the NFP to encourage supporters to promote free elections

"Out of our engagements with the leadership of the NFP we're confident as government that they will also assist in coming on board and in ensuring that their members are able to continue exercising their democratic vote."

The Ulundi Municipality previously had an NFP member as its mayor and the authorities say they will monitor former hotspot areas.

Ncalane said the situation in areas infamous for political killings, during the campaign period, have stabilised and there is already an increase in intelligence officials on the ground.

"From where we are sitting, we are dealing with the sporadic killings of candidates, which is a cause for concern, but in those areas we have said we are going to increase police visibility."

Ncalane said they have also noted the Electoral Court's decision regarding the NFP and have met with its leadership.

"That on its own has some potential of causing some instability because out of [desperation], their members have staged some illegal protests."

The community safety department says because the violence has been sporadic, all areas in the province will be treated as areas of concern.

Click here for EWN's feature tracking the political violence hot spots.