IEC rules on unstamped votes at Nongoma

2014-03-24 00:00

THE Electoral Court has been asked to declare the results of by-elections held in Nongoma last year null and void.

The closely contested by-election in Ward 11 was the subject of an objection after just nine votes separated the NFP and IFP.

NFP candidate Nombuyana Samuel won Ward 11 with 889 votes. The IFP’s Nkosinathi Mzukhona Nzimande garnered 880 votes and the ANC’s Nhlanhla Michael Mthembu obtained 710.

During the by-election, a total of 2 509 votes were cast, 2 479 were declared valid and 30 were spoilt.

The IFP lodged an objection after it was found that some special votes in Ward 11 were not counted, after it was discovered that they were not stamped by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Provincial electoral officer Mawethu recently told the media that the IFP had won five of the 11 unstamped ballots, a move that had a material impact on the outcome.

Mosery said the IEC has since gone to the Electoral Court to ask that the by-election be held afresh and the parties were asked to make submissions to the court.

He said there were three options open to the court: retaining the by-election results in favour of the NFP by disregarding the unstamped votes; nullifying the results to start the contest afresh; or validating the unstamped ballots in favour of the IFP.

NFP secretary-general Nhlanhla Khubisa said his party was opposed to the IEC’s request.

“We believe we qualify to get that seat,” he said.

In another development, the NFP retained Ward 10 in Nongoma after the ANC lodged an objection to the by-election results there.

The ANC, which lost the ward, had wanted three special votes that were not stamped to be counted.

The by-election was won by the NFP’s Mbongeleni Victor Ntombela with 906 votes.

The ANC’s Goodwill Bhekithemba Nyembe won 903 votes and the IFP’s Themba Jacob Nsele obtained 824 votes.

A total of 2 659 votes were cast, 2 633 were declared valid and there were 26 spoilt ballots.

However, after an investigation, the IEC ruled that the unstamped votes would not change the outcome of the by-election even if the special votes were counted.

This prompted the IEC to urge voters to check if their ballot papers were stamped.

“If it is not stamped, it is not valid,” Mosery said recently.

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