DA charges MF with fraud

2014-06-30 00:00

THE Democratic Alliance has laid a criminal charge against the Minority Front as it gears up to contest a newly vacated ward in Chatsworth.

The DA has claimed that the MF ferried party loyalists from neighbouring wards to register in Chatsworth in an effort to boost its numbers for Wednesday’s by-election.

But the MF has said the DA was “scraping the bottom of the barrel” in an attempt to win support in the ward previously controlled by the MF until its councillor resigned.

Previously the MF councillor, Ronnie Pillay is now running as the DA candidate for the same ward.

With just days to go until the by-election on Wednesday, the DA is certain it will claim the key Chatsworth ward as well as Phoenix, which is also being contested.

In the recent national and provincial elections, results showed that the DA won at every single voting station in what is known as ward 73.

A charge of electoral fraud was laid after a Shallcross resident, Prashant Teeklall, claimed to have been coerced by the MF to register in Chatsworth. Teeklall claimed the MF had his paperwork to access a disability grant and would only help him access the funding once he had registered.

“I was given an address in Chatsworth to claim that I lived at that address but I live in Shallcross. My mom and I only went to register in the neighbouring ward because we thought unless I did not do so I would not get my disability grant.

“We were taken to the registration station by MF leaders. There were many of us. Others were transported in buses and taxis,” said Teeklall.

But Patrick Pillay who leads the party in the eThekwini Metro, said he was unaware of the criminal charge being laid against the party’s Chatsworth ward candidate Madhanlall Dasarath.

“We will win both the by-elections in Chatsworth and Phoenix. The MF has never attempted to work contrary to what is prescribed by the Electoral Act. These allegations are baseless and our supporters will see this as such. The DA is really scraping the bottom of the barrel,” said Pillay.

Led by a high-level DA delegation including provincial head Sizwe Mchunu and national police shadow minister Diane Kohler Barnard, the party hopes the Independent Electoral Commission will remove all voters from the roll who have moved across from neighbouring wards.

“They are using ANC tactics. This is a serious indictment on our democracy and these people who were [forced to register elsewhere] have had their own rights undermined.

“I fear this is just the tip of the ice-berg,” said Mchunu.

Kohler Barnard said the allegation made by Teeklall made it one the “dirtiest by-elections” she has seen.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

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