Speaker in court over Matatiele vote ‘meddling’

2009-11-03 00:00

THE speaker in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality and two teachers appeared in court in the district yesterday for allegedly tampering with the ballots in a vote to determine if Matatiele will remain in the Eastern Cape or return to KwaZulu-Natal.

Eastern Cape police spokesman Superintendent Mzukisi Fatyela said the speaker, Nomvuyo Goya, has been charged under the Electoral Act with interfering with voting material and with being part of a group of 10 people who stole two ballot boxes on Saturday.

Goya was arrested on Saturday night with the two teachers.

She and her two co-accused will appear again on Thursday for a bail hearing.

Matatiele residents voted from Wednesday to Saturday last week in a referendum to determine whether the residents want the town to be incorporated into the Eastern Cape or be re-incorporated in KZN.

The referendum was called by the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Sicelo Shiceka, last month. A report on the referundum will be handed to Shiceka, who in turn will present it to the cabinet for discussion.

The arrests on Saturday followed hot on the heels of allegations of intimidation by African National Congress councillors in both the Matatiele and Alfred Nzo municipalities.

The chairman of the Matatiele and Maluti Crisis Committee, Mandla Galo, said ANC councillors intimidated voters from going to the polls. The councillors allegedly told the voters that if they voted to be re-incorporated into KZN, they would lose their pensions and their children would lose their grants.

The committee is advocating for Matatiele to return to KZN.

“Despite the intimidation, our people forged ahead to vote for going back to KwaZulu-Natal. The [voting] process overall went well,” added Galo.

Attempts to get comments from ANC councillors in Matatiele and from Shiceka’s office were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

Galo said yesterday the committee will continue fighting in the Constitutional Court for the town’s re-incorporation into KZN. The court is expected to hear the matter tomorrow.

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