By-elections: All eyes on Tlokwe

2013-09-17 23:18
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - While by-elections are to be held on Wednesday in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Western Cape, it is Tlokwe, in North West, that is set to be the most keenly watched.

Six out of nine by-elections in the city have been postponed and the DA said would closely monitor the conduct of IEC officials during the vote.

On Tuesday the Electoral Court found in favour of five independent candidates who wanted to contest the by-elections.

The court held that the IEC should ask the responsible North West MEC to postpone the by-elections to be held in five wards - 1, 4, 11, 12 and 20.

A sixth by-election, in Ward 13, was earlier postponed after an out-of-court settlement.

The court held that the IEC launch a full investigation into the conduct of official John Makodi during the period 8 August 2013 to 27 August 2013 concerning the registration of the applicants for the municipal by-elections.

In a statement, DA’s Chris Hattingh said: “It is important that the credibility of the IEC be restored this would demand a transparent and thorough investigation by the IEC."

He said: “Incidents such as what happened today where the IEC conducted the special votes process without voting booths in full view of ANC members, who then rewarded every ANC voter with a parcel of fruit left a perception that irregularities within the IEC may have become systemic."

He said the image and brand of the IEC as an independent and fair election agent suffered "serious damage" in the past weeks.

The ANC echoed the court order and called for a full investigation into the conduct of an IEC official who registered candidates.

"The ruling of the court today [Tuesday]  is neither a victory, setback nor a loss for the African National Congress as we were neither an applicant nor a respondent in the matter," spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

"It is our assertion that today’s ruling is merely a temporary delay in the inevitable victory of the will of the people in Tlokwe."

He said the ANC also noted reports of incidents of violence and said anyone found guilty of any misconduct would be held responsible and brought to book.

"This behaviour is indicative of those who are afraid of the process of democracy and are thus prepared to resort to illegal means to intimidate others."

Accused of buying votes

The ANC has been accused of buying votes in Tlokwe, after about 1 000 people were given the title deeds to their homes on Tuesday and food parcels were handed out earlier this month.

The ANC has denied these claims, saying that both incidents had nothing to do with electioneering, but were merely part of service delivery.

The human settlements department denied that the handing-over ceremony had anything to do with electioneering.

"This is part of MEC Nono Maloyi's ongoing project which started [in 2010] to deliver services," spokesperson Ben Bole said.

He said with or without elections, service delivery efforts would continue.

Another 50 people were given houses during the event, which was held next to the Ipeleng Community Library voting station.

Bole said the handover had been planned long before the IEC decided on a date for the elections.

The houses were completed last December, and Tuesday was just the issuing of the title deeds.

"The MEC is very consistent in saying going forward immediately after houses are completed we need to issue a title deed," he said.

Bole said the government should be applauded for the manner in which it handed out houses quickly, unlike the apartheid government.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini also came under fire for handing out food parcels ahead of by-elections in Tlokwe.

She was accused of using her ministerial position to garner votes for the ANC.

DA spokesperson Mmusi Maimane described what the ANC was doing as appalling.

"The ANC seems to think that people should only eat and get houses every five years. The mandate should be such that we provide for the poor every day," he said.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  iec  |  jackson mthembu  |  mmusi maimane  |  mahikeng  |  tlokwe leadership battle  |  elections 2014  |  politics

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