Just three votes swing by-election

2013-10-26 00:00

JUST three votes separated the ANC and NFP in a by-election in Nongoma this week — and the ANC wants those three votes from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

NFP candidate Mbongeleni Victor Ntombela took ward 10 with 906 votes. The ANC’s Goodwill Bhekithemba Nyembe had 903 votes and IFP candidate Themba Jacob Nsele 824.

The ANC says three votes cast in Nyembe’s favour were not counted after it was found that they were not stamped by the IEC.

Had the votes been counted, there would have been a tie that would have resulted in the tossing of a coin to determine the winner.

Addressing the media in Durban yesterday, ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said he could not understand how a vote could be cast without IEC officials stamping the voting slip.

Zikalala said he did not see why the voters should be disenfranchised because of the IEC’s mistake.

“We are convinced that it is in the interests of free and fair elections for the ANC to pursue the matter through the proper channels,” he said.

Zikalala said the IEC should delay Ntombela’s swearing-in until the matter was finalised to the satisfaction of all parties.

NFP secretary-general Nhlanhla Khubisa said the IEC had declared the elections free and fair after the counting was done in the presence of representatives from all parties.

“I think it is a question of sour grapes. People must learn to concede defeat and go back to the drawing board,” he said.

The IEC’s provincial electoral officer Mawethu Mosery could not be reached for comment.

ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu said the peaceful by-election in Nongoma was a sign of the deepening of democracy in the province.

“We have to take note and celebrate the deepening of democracy in our province to the extent that for an area known for high levels of intolerance, there were no incidents before, during and after the by-elections,” Mchunu said.

Zikalala hailed the ANC’s victory in another Nongoma ward, which was the party’s first in the area.

Meanwhile, the ANC will hold its provincial list conference at the Durban city hall today to nominate candidates for the provincial legislature and Parliament.

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