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PAC accuses IEC of hampering its election bid

2016-06-23 09:43
Luthando Mbinda (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

Cape Town - The Pan Africanist Congress on Wednesday accused the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) of trying to make it difficult for the party to contest the municipal elections, after its demand that the party prove who its leader is.

"There is no leadership dispute," charged MP Luthando Mbinda at a media conference in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Mbinda said that in spite of several court challenges to his position, he is the rightful president of the party. Unless the IEC recognised this by the end of Wednesday, the PAC would be forced to take action such as going to court.

On June 15, the IEC told the PAC that it had to provide a court order to prove that Mbinda is indeed the leader of the PAC before it could recognise PAC candidates that were submitted for the August 3 elections.

He found this outrageous and explained that one claimant to the presidency, Letlapa Mphahlele, was expelled in 2013 for bringing the party into disrepute. The other, the previous deputy president Alton Mphethi, who initially took over from Mphahlele, was also expelled because he did not reveal that there was a criminal case against him.

Last year Mphethi was sentenced to seven years in jail, with five suspended, for the murder of a Swazi national in a love triangle.

Party funding suspended

Mbinda said that after Mphethi's expulsion, he became president so that the position would not be vacant. This was then confirmed at an elective congress in December 2015.

However, the IEC had suspended its party funding to the PAC while various court battles over leadership played out, because it said it did not know who to deal with.

In April the court said the IEC must recognise Mbinda for the purposes of the August 3 elections.

The party intends putting up candidates for most metropolitan municipalities.

Mbinda said that by questioning who the true leaders of the PAC are, the IEC is denying the party its right to take part in the August 3 municipal elections. It had already battled to get its candidate lists accepted, particularly in the Eastern Cape, which it considers its stronghold, saying the IEC had instructed officials not to engage with them.

He said his lawyers had checked and there was no appeal lodged by any other disgruntled PAC supporters, so the judgment that the IEC deals with him, stands.

Elections 'rigged'

He claimed party representatives in the province were forced to leave the IEC's offices in East London because of a missing document on the June 2 deadline for registration of candidates, but the IEC was accepting others' late documentation, which he felt was inconsistent. He said the representatives were also chased out of the office even though they got through the doors before the deadline on the same day.

He questioned why the IEC was having so much difficulty with who its leader was, given that he was the one that signed the Electoral Code of Conduct earlier this year.

"It has now become a ritual of sorts that before elections the IEC must distract the PAC from its core business of campaigning. The present election campaign period is no exception at all," said Mbinda.

He suggested political interference by the IEC in favour of the ruling African National Congress and claimed there had been communication between Mphahlele and the ANC.

"Elections are not only rigged on the day of the voting. Elections are always rigged long before," he alleged.

Comment was not immediately available from the IEC.

Read more on: pac  |  iec  |  luthando mbinda  |  local elections 2016  |  politics

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