By-elections ‘undermined’

2013-07-03 00:00

POLITICAL parties have resorted to underhand tactics to win Ward 39 of Durban Metro, a move which led to the IEC postponing the by-election scheduled for today.

The head of the provincial Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Mawethu Mosery, said allegations of voter registration fraud, which surfaced last month, led to the postponement.

“I can confirm that there are quite a number of people who attempted to register to vote in Ward 39. At this stage, we don’t want to apportion blame, but the matter is under investigation,” Mosery said yesterday.

He said one political party, which he would not name, had lodged a complaint of voter registration fraud.

It is not known how long it will take for the investigation to be concluded.

“We will have to visit about 1 700 individuals who had registered in that ward. In some cases, people from other adjacent wards register to vote in other wards to boost votes for particular individuals, and this is undermining our electoral processes,” Mosery said.

“In Abaqulusi and Jozini we are facing the same problem,” he said, adding that the commission will advise on further arrangements for the vacant position.

The guilty party will either face an electoral fraud charge or the commission may approach the electoral court to rule on punishment.

IFP eThekwini caucus chairperson Mduduzi Nkosi said his party blew the whistle on the fraud.

“We discovered that on June 18 and 19 there were 1 221 people who registered to vote in the by-election in Ward 39, and this was too huge a number in two days so we lodged a complaint with the IEC. We know of a political party whthat bused in people from uMlazi and Lindelani,” said Nkosi.

Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube said in a statement she had acceded to the IEC request for a postponement of today’s by-election in Ward 39 in kwaMashu.

“In the light of this investigation, the IEC says it will not be reasonably possible to conduct free and fair elections on July 3.”

The ANC in KZN welcomed the postponement.

The National Freedom Party’s offices in Durban referred The Witness to national spokesperson Professor Nhlanhla Kubisi, whose phone was on voicemail.

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