Cape Town — The run-up to South Africa’s general elections Wednesday has been mostly peaceful but not without incident. In Western Cape province, the opposition Democratic Alliance, or DA, accused rival parties of trying to intimidate voters in February by chanting violent slogans and brandishing weapons at voter registration locations. For years, some black voters in the province have been scared of being attacked if they admit to supporting the white-led DA.

This supporter of the Democratic Alliance is a single mother who works in a restaurant.

“I don’t want to identify because most of the people in my area is a black people. I don’t know, maybe I can get hurt because they don’t like a DA member. They still vote for the ANC even (though) ANC doesn’t give them nothing. ANC’s too much corruption. That’s why we get fed up with that,” she said.

The woman says she believes that the track record of the DA, South Africa’s main opposition party, speaks for itself.

According to reports from South Africa’s Auditor-General, the Western Cape, which the DA party governs at the provincial level, is the best run province in the country.

Despite this achievement, the DA’s critics say it protects only white business interests.

The voter, whom VOA spoke with, disagrees.

“To me the DA’s for everyone. Even if you are black or white or colored, you are in a rainbow nation,” she said.

The woman’s mother, who is in her late eighties, does not agree and remains a staunch ANC supporter, ever grateful to that party and its former president, Nelson Mandela, for the state-sponsored house she received in 1996.

“When Mandela was coming outside then I was voting ANC because ANC then, they give me a house because I was stay(ing) in a shed,” she said.

However, both women are afraid they will be targeted if people know whom the daughter votes for in the general election.

Political analyst Cherrel Africa, associate professor at the University of the Western Cape’s Department of Political Science, believes that attitudes will change when political leaders stop harping on race to win votes.

“That can often lead to inflammatory rhetoric, particularly racially divisive rhetoric where there’s an attempt to play on the anxiety of particular voters,” said Africa.

While intimidation is a legitimate concern for voters, the Western Cape is not known for political killings. They are far more common in KwaZulu-Natal province, where according to the National Police Minister Bheki Cele, at least 155 officeholders and city councilors had been killed between 2011 and September last year.

And with former President Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto we Sizwe Party making its debut in this election, tensions in that province, Zuma’s home, are heightened.

For this election, police have put more boots on the ground countrywide and urged political parties to adhere to the Electoral Code of Conduct, which makes intimidating candidates or voters an offense.

Parties that break the code can be fined up to 200,000 rand (about $11,000) or sent to prison for up to 10 years.

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