Peaceful by-elections praised

2014-03-27 00:00

Apart from the by-elections held in uMtshezi Municipality, those in Nongoma, eThekwini Metro’s KwaMashu hostel, Vulamehlo and Abaqulusi went ahead as planned. Two of the by-elections, KwaMashu and uMtshezi, were held in violence-prone areas.

Community Safety and Liaison Department spokesperson Sipho Khumalo said MEC Willies Mchunu was satis­fied that the by-elections proceeded peacefully.

“The MEC was concerned with KwaMashu, where the SAPS and the department have thrown in a lot of resources to ensure the level of stability is conducive for free and fair elections,” Khumalo said.

NFP secretary-general Nhlanhla Khubisa said the reports he received about the by-elections in the province and the polling stations were all positive. “People are dancing and singing. There is an ecstatic and jubilant mood,” Khubisa said in a telephonic interview with The Witness from Vulamehlo Municipality.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the party was equally satisfied with the incident-free by-elections, including the lack of violent incidents in the volatile KwaMashu.

“So far, so good,” was how the DA’s Sizwe Mchunu responded when asked to comment about the hotly contested uMtshezi by-elections his party was competing in.

While the IFP agreed the by-elections were proceeding smoothly, national chairman Blessed Gwala accused the ANC of engaging in electoral fraud in uMtshezi, expressing unhappiness with teachers aligned to Sadtu and with links to the ANC acting as election officials.

“We were sensitised that the ruling party is bringing people who do not reside here,” Gwala said, adding that one person had since been identified and confronted.

“We are still concerned with the deployment of South African Democratic Teachers’ Union [Sadtu] members. Because they are aligned to the ANC, that alone compromises the independence of the IEC,” he said, adding that had it not been for alert IFP members, the non-Ward four resident would have been allowed to vote by the Sadtu-aligned presiding officer.

Zikalala said if the IFP was unhappy with the voter registration, it should lodge a complaint with the Independent Electoral Commission so that an investigation could be instituted.

Provincial electoral officer Mawethu Mosery was not immediately available for comment.

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