ANC blames IEC for Grabouw

By Drum Digital
26 April 2012

The reclaiming of the tightly-contested Grabouw ward by the DA should be taken "with a pinch of salt", the ANC in the Western Cape said on Thursday.

"We'll take [the win in] ward 11 with a pinch of salt because the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has failed us," secretary Songezo Mjongile claimed.

They had objected to the names of 800 voters on the roll who lived in ward 13, and not ward 11.

"And still, the IEC refused to remove them from the voter's roll."

IEC provincial head Courtney Simpson said before the local elections last year, the area's boundaries were changed by the Municipal Demarcation Board and a group of people found themselves in a new ward.

"The IEC went around to people to register them in the ward where their area was now located but, for some reason, they were still on the voter's roll for ward 11."

He said the ANC followed proper procedures in objecting to the names and were required, by law, to inform each person that they had objections to their name being on the list.

The national IEC office then investigated the objections before handing down a decision, which could not be appealed.

A national IEC spokesman could not immediately be reached to confirm how many objections were received, or what the outcome of the investigation was.

Mjongile said they were told they would need to get each person to sign a letter of objection, but said "this should have been the job of the IEC".

The IEC said DA candidate Martin Matthews got 1,336 votes, over ANC candidate Cathy Booysen-Nefdt's 1,233 during Wednesday's by-election.

A total of 2,590 validated votes were registered for the ward, which falls under the Theewaterskloof municipality. The ward seat opened up when Booysen-Nefdt left the DA to join the ANC in February, accusing the DA caucus of racism.

Violence broke out in Grabouw last month when residents protested against overcrowding at the Umyezo Wama Apile school, largely attended by black pupils. Three classrooms were vandalised at Groenberg Secondary, creating a divide between coloured and black residents.

DA leader Helen Zille accused the ANC of attempting to "destabilise politics in the Western Cape and subvert the will of the voters" under its so-called "Operation Reclaim". This was apparently the ruling party's name for its attempt to win control of the province from the DA.

"Voters in Grabouw saw through the ANC's shameful hate-mongering, and returned the DA to office in ward 11, endorsing the work that the DA government is doing in Theewaterskloof," she said.

Mjongile maintained the operation was nothing but a figment of the DA's imagination.

The DA also retained a seat in ward 45 on Wednesday, which included Tambo village and parts of Gugulethu and Manenberg. The seat became vacant after DA councillor Faiza Adams died.

Defence minister and ANC national executive committee member Lindiwe Sisulu addressed a crowd at the Gugulethu sports complex last week in a bid by the party to secure more votes.

DA candidate Siyabulela Mamkeli however won, getting 3590 votes over ANC candidate Cecilia Nontuthuzelo Dlongodlongo's 2,191.

"It is quite a sad situation. We fought a good fight," Mjongile said.

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