MEDIA RELEASE : Voters encouraged to vote

To: All Media/News Editors

Media Statement – For Immediate Release

A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR VOTERS

KwaZulu Religions For Peace (KNCC) and KZN Inter-Religious Council (KZN-IRC), World Religions for Peace (WRfP), KZN Democracy and Election Forum and National Election Monitoring Network (NEMN) encourage all eligible voters to exercise their right to elect representatives of their choice by voting early in the day.

Voting early in the day will help us all to comply with the COVID-19 health protocols; by maintaining social distancing, regularly sanitising our hands, and by always wearing a face mask. It will also help prevent last-minute rush and long lines forming after dark outside voting stations.

We remain concerned about reports of loan sharks illegally withholding ID documents of those who have borrowed money from them, as this will deny affected people an opportunity to vote. We call upon those loan sharks concerned to desist from their illegal withholding ID documents and hand back ID documents immediately to their owners so that they can go and vote. The act of withholding ID documents as a security for a debt is illegal, and we call on those affected to report the practice to the police.

We encourage farmers to facilitate voting for farm workers and their family members living in their farms (remote from voting stations) by releasing them from duty and by making available transport, where farm workers continue to rely on employers for transport to get to their voting stations. This is particularly important in the local government elections where voters must vote in the area in which they are registered.

Our teams of Election Observers – made up largely from faith communities, community advice offices, Legal fraternity, etc – are deployed in various voting districts and will be following up on information about alleged violations of the Electoral Code of Conduct.

We stand ready to report to the police any serious violations and to actively take steps to ensure the prosecution and conviction of perpetrators so that we can send a clear message that no one is above the law. We will also call for disqualification from the elections of those politicians who violate the Electoral Code of Conduct with impunity.

ENDS

Issued by the Office of the Chairperson- KwaZulu Natal Christian Council

Media Enquiries:      Ms Xola Nkabinde KZNCC Communications Coordinator – 072 8344219

Major Thataetsile Semeno (Elections Coordinator) – 064 681 7310

Bishop Nkosinathi Myaka (KZNCC Chairperson) – 083 364 8652/ 082 388 8315

Mr Nkosikhulule Nyembezi (KZNCC Election Forum Analyst) – 082 688 6405