Mpumalanga municipality bans Malema event - EFF

2016-05-19 15:29
EFF leader Julius Malema. (File, Netwerk24)

EFF leader Julius Malema. (File, Netwerk24)

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Komatipoort - Despite evidence suggesting otherwise, an Mpumalanga local municipality has denied barring EFF leader Julius Malema from using municipal stadiums to address his supporters.

The decision comes barely days after leaders of political parties pledged to abide by the provisions of the South African Electoral Code not to sabotage other parties during election campaigns.

Nkomazi municipality spokesperson Cyril Ripinga confirmed that the municipality had taken a decision that no activities would be allowed to take place in all the local stadia, as the pitches had been damaged during a recent soccer tournament.

"We never took into consideration the issue of the elections. The pitches at the stadia were in a very bad state, compared to how they were after they had been renovated. The decision was necessitated by our inability to irrigate the pitches due to water restrictions that the municipality imposed as a result of the drought," said Ripinga.

Mpumalanga leader of the EFF, Collen Sedibe, said they had been handed a letter that prohibited the use of the KaMaqhekeza and KaMhlushwa stadiums near Komatipoort, on the grounds that the stadium pitches had been damaged.

Violation of code

He was adamant, however, that the prohibition was political. He said that the municipality had promised him a "technical report" to prove that the decision was taken prior the EFF application, but he was yet to be provided with one.

"We will, today, be lodging a complaint with the Independent Electoral Commission [IEC], because it has been brought to our attention that the decision has nothing to do with the excuses that they’ve made in public. The decision is political and constitutes the violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct," said Sedibe.

Section 9(2)(c) of the South African Electoral Code of Conduct prohibits anyone from unreasonably preventing any person's access to voters.

A letter signed by Nkomazi municipal manager, Daniel Ngwenya, dated May 3 2016, corroborated Ripinga’s statement.

However, a municipal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the letter was only generated on Friday, May 13 2016, to prevent Malema from using the stadium.

Ripinga said that, apart from the churches that use the stadia, and those activities that had been booked prior to the decision, no other activities would be allowed at the stadia.

No clarity on games at stadium

This journalist, however, has established independently that at the weekend, the Nkomazi municipality will be hosting the Ehlanzeni Games, which include, soccer and netball games at one of the stadia that is affected by the ban - KaMhlushwa stadium.

Mbombela municipality spokesperson Joseph Ngala confirmed that his municipality would be participating in the games.

"I can confirm that our sports’ department informed me this morning that they will be participating in the games that will be taking place at KaMhlushwa stadium at Nkomazi," said Ngala.

Ehlanzeni district municipality spokesperson, Lucky Ngomane also confirmed that the games would be taking place at the KaMhlushwa stadium.

When confronted with this information, Ripinga said that he had verified and satisfied himself that no such event had been booked at the stadium.

Read more on:    eff  |  julius malema  |  mbombela  |  local government

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