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Election debutantes cautious

2014-05-08 00:03
Julius Malema
(Picture: Sapa)
Pretoria - Three election debutantes voiced concerns over what they termed serious irregularities at polling stations around the country on Wednesday.

Agang SA, Economic Freedom Fighters, and the National Freedom Party, which contested the national and provincial elections for the first time this year, were circumspect about the day's polls.

The NFP contested local government elections in 2011.

The EFF's Gauteng premier candidate Dali Mpofu said the party had received complaints from voters about irregularities at voting stations and would assess the seriousness of claims.

"There have been many, many complaints, what we will assess is the gravity of the complaints," Mpofu said at the Electoral Commission of SA's (IEC) results centre in Pretoria.

"If these are things we think can be ignored in the overall picture then obviously we will still pursue them without contesting the election results.

"But if they are grave complaints, even if they one or two that we think might affect the outcome, then obviously it is our duty to take it up to the highest level."

Mpofu was nevertheless upbeat about his party's chances in the elections and predicted they would govern in Gauteng.

"There is a new kid on the block obviously and the people are very enthusiastic about our entering the scene and they should be because we are bringing something completely new to the political scene," he said.

"We call ourselves the Economic Freedom Fighters so we must govern the economic hub of the country. That's not negotiable."

Agang SA chair Mike Tshishonga believed the results would show that their party had largely been underestimated.

He said the party picked up some issues at polling stations and hoped they were isolated incidences.

"Things are going on well, except for two or three serious incidents, but we don't know if it is the tip of the iceberg," Tshishonga said.

"We also attracted newcomers, and those who didn't vote previously are starting to see some sense in voting. The elections this time around will be different and that is why there are so many parties because they are seeing the gap."

NFP national chairperson Maliyake Shelembe said it was difficult to trust the IEC.

"As the NFP I can say without doubt that the elections are not to the standard we are looking at to be free and fair. If we say it's not fair it's because of consequences from these voting stations," he said.

Shelembe said his party had received complaints from supporters at voting stations. He complained that presiding officers were not well trained.

"We are not happy, but let's see what is the value of the outcome of the results."

On a positive note Shelembe said the NFP was happy it was contesting national elections for the first time. The party is a break-away from the Inkatha Freedom Party and contested local government elections in 2011 for the first time.

"In local government we did very, very well as we managed to obtain 227 councillors throughout the country... It shows the NFP is a national party and we understand the needs of the country at large.

"We are glad the NFP is going to be represented in the National Assembly and all provincial legislatures," he said.

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Read more on: nfp  |  agang sa  |  iec  |  eff  |  elections 2014

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