Mo Shaik denies links to ANC’s voting agency

2007-12-18 00:00

Polokwane — Mo Shaik was suppressing his anger last night as he denied any links with the company in charge of the voting process at the ANC conference in Polokwane.

Rumours have been doing the rounds for some days among President Thabo Mbeki’s supporters that Shaik and Cyril Beeka, who owns security companies and has been in the news because of his ties with the Cape underworld, are the owners of The Elexions Agency, which is in charge of electronic vote capturing in the ANC vote.

It is the first time that the agency is running the voting and also the first time that votes for the ANC leadership will be counted electronically.

In the past the elections have been run by the Independent Electoral Institute of South Africa (IEISA).

Shaik, who has close ties with ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, said he plans to complain to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the umbrella body for The Elexions Agency, about the rumours. The IEC could not be contacted yesterday to confirm if this had happened.

When approached yesterday, Shaik said: “Don’t you think that would have been the most idiotic thing imaginable?”.

“I have no business ties of any nature to this conference, not for the provision of beans or anything else, or even the air that the people are breathing here,” he said.

He said as a result of the National Prosecuting Authority’s investigation into his business dealings, and that of his brother, his business affairs are among some of “the most closely audited” in the land.

He dismissed the rumours as “extremely malicious” and said there are also SMSes doing the rounds that he owns the company that is supplying the ballot papers.

But sources in the Mbeki camp said last night that Shaik’s involvement in The Elexions Agency has been confirmed by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

They said it could provide grounds to support the ANC Youth League’s request that all votes should be counted manually, a point of contention thus far between the Zuma and Mbeki camps.

Thoko Didiza, the head of the ANC’s registration and accreditation committee, said at a media conference yesterday that the ANC had picked up problems with the registration of delegates who were eligible to vote.

In a few cases, duplicated accreditation cards had been issued to delegates, but that had been rectified, reports Liezel de Lange.

Shaik has been seen at the ANC conference, and although he was not there last night, he said he would return later in the week. Beeka did not respond to inquiries last night, but he has reportedly been registered to provide security services at the conference.

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