IFP wants handful of rejected votes counted

2013-10-28 00:00

THE Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has been asked to consider another objection after the NFP won a hotly contested by-election held in Nongoma last week.

Last week, the ANC asked the IEC to look at why three special votes cast in the Ward 10 by-election were not counted as they were not stamped.

NFP candidate Mbongeleni Victor Ntombela won Ward 10 after he garnered 906 votes to the ANC’s 903.

Now the IFP wants the IEC to scrutinise votes cast in Ward 11 after nine votes separated the NFP and IFP. The electoral body has confirmed receipt of the objection.

Although the IFP was not immediately available for comment yesterday, NFP secretary- general Nhlanhla Khubisa dismissed the objection.

“We are not worried about that. There were party agents on the spot, the counting was done at the voting stations and the IEC declared the by-elections free and fair,” Khubisa said.

He also said the NFP would not interfere with other parties contesting the by-election outcome. “We don’t have to argue the results. They [IFP] should just go to the drawing board.”

It was the second objection lodged with the IEC after three by-elections were held last Wednesday following the resignation of IFP councillors who joined the ANC in August.

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.

A total of 2 509 votes were cast — 2 479 were declared valid and 30 were spoilt ballots.

However, it has since emerged that some special votes in Ward 11 were not counted after they were found not to be stamped by the IEC.

Weekend Witness reported on Saturday that the ANC’s Goodwill Bhekithemba Nyembe received 903 votes in Ward 10 and IFP candidate Themba Jacob Nsele got 824 votes. A total of 2 659 votes were cast — 2 633 were declared valid and there were 26 spoilt ballots.

KZN provincial electoral commissioner Mawethu Mosery confirmed that the ANC and IFP had lodged objections in connection with uncounted ballots in Wednesday’s by-elections.

“Both are before the commissioners who will make a decision by Wednesday,” he said.

Mosery said the KZN IEC has conducted an investigation and a decision would be announced soon.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said when there were closely contested elections, people were bound to take interest in the disputed votes and contest the outcome.

“It raises the issue of ineptitude or inefficiency of the electoral body. It also raises questions around corruption as to why a ballot made it, without verification and stamping, to the ballot box,” Fikeni said.

He also said the counting of unstamped votes could be seriously challenged unless the IEC admitted they made a mistake.

The IEC should conduct a credible probe into the unstamped votes to ensure it maintained its integrity and to help avert political violence, he said.

• mayibongwe.maqhina@witness.co.za

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