FILE: Voters at Rekgonne Primary School in Mangaung wrapped themselves up in blankets and winter woollies against the cold. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)
Bloemfontein – Some independent candidates in Mangaung, in the Free State, have claimed that the ANC bought alcohol in exchange for votes in the local government elections.
A group of 33 candidates told News24 on Thursday that the August 3 elections were not free and fair.
“We have lodged complaints with the IEC, but during our meeting they did not want to address our election objections,” said Nkosiyomzi Joloza, 59.
“Some people who were voting at ward 10 in Mangaung declared that they voted because they were bought alcohol by the ANC in exchange for votes. Some of them arrived at voting stations with a taxi that was filled with alcohol, and some said they were voting because they were paid R50,” he said.
Another candidate claimed ballot papers were stolen in most wards in Mangaung.
“I personally witnessed ANC members giving residents of ward 27 in Botshabelo alcohol and residents said they would vote for them. Some of our people were asking who voted for the ruling party because they initially voted for us, but the IEC doesn’t want to address this,” said another candidate, Kgotso Lebone.
Free State IEC spokesperson Mmathabo Rasengane said they had not received complaints in writing from the candidates. At present the allegations were merely rumours and they would not investigate these.
Provincial ANC spokesperson Thabo Meeko rejected the allegations.
“That is a very disturbing analysis of the elections. We had potential to win. We welcomed the support indicated by our people and we will reflect on our mistakes,” he said.
The ANC won the Mangaung metro with 56.77% of the votes, down from 66.27% in 2011. The DA got 27.11% of the votes.
According to IEC figures, only 44% of registered voters in the province turned up at voting stations on August 3, apparently due to the cold weather.
"It was really cold and in places like Zastron it snowed,” IEC said last week.
The commission had hoped for about 80% of registered voters to turn up, but the trend in the Free State was that voter participation in local government elections was not high.