IEC under threat of becoming ANC lapdog – Helen Zille

2014-08-11 11:37

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DA leader Helen Zille has questioned the ability of the electoral commission to run free and fair municipal elections in 2016.

“[The] Independent Electoral Commission – once one of our most robust independent state institutions – is under serious threat of becoming another ANC lapdog ...” she warned in her weekly SA Today newsletter published on the Democratic Alliance’s website today.

Zille said the results of this year’s national and provincial elections showed that the ruling African National Congress was vulnerable in three Gauteng metropolitan municipalities, especially in Nelson Mandela Bay, the centre of which is Port Elizabeth.

“Suddenly, after May, four more metros – in addition to Cape Town – are in play for 2016,” she said.

“In Gauteng, the ANC is looking extremely vulnerable in the province’s three metros: Johannesburg (52.3%), Tshwane (49.3%) and Ekurhuleni (55%).”

A DA victory in one of these metros in 2016 would be a “tipping point” for the province.

In Nelson Mandela Metro, only eight percentage points now separated the ANC and the DA.

In her newsletter titled “Can we have confidence in a free and fair 2016 election?” Zille said a sinister picture was emerging of an ANC determined to prevent any further losses through the ballot box, and to reverse the tide of the party’s declining support.

“They are increasingly prepared to subvert our democracy to ensure this,” she said.

Warning signals included attempts by deployed cadres on the municipal demarcation board to merge Midrand – the only DA-run municipality in Gauteng – with surrounding ANC-dominated municipalities.

Another was the deployment of SA Democratic Teachers’ Union members as electoral officers to run polling stations earlier this year, “after Sadtu instructed its members to do everything possible to ensure the re-election of the ANC”.

Zille said the ruling party was seeking to control the IEC.

“It goes without saying that if the IEC becomes an extension of the ruling faction of the ANC, we can kiss free and fair elections goodbye,” she said.

“Of course this trend is likely to be disguised as something else: certain voting stations will ‘run out’ of ballot papers. Certain ‘zip-zip’ machines will be defective. Certain polling stations will open late, so that people get tired of waiting in queues and leave.

“There will be targeted electricity ‘blackouts’.”

Zille said this trend had been evident at some Cape Town polling stations during the May elections this year.

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