'Blood on ballots' campaign leader claims intimidation

2016-08-03 18:33

Cape Town - The leader of a bizarre Cape Flats social media campaign called #ImspoilingmyBallotwithMyBlood claimed police told her she would be arrested if she went to a voting booth with a sharp object.

The Bonteheuwel group advertised the campaign on Facebook this week. It encouraged Cape Flats residents to spoil their ballots by spilling their blood on them.

“They need our vote and we need safe communities. Let’s take back our power! Join us in protest action by joining the #ImspoilingmyBallotwithMyBlood campaign,” the post read.

Campaign member Brian Adams posted that people should not believe the lies that a spoilt ballot goes to the ruling party. 

“It gets counted and we hope and trust that you will join us to increase the tally of spoilt ballots in Ward 50 and Ward 31 and across Cape Town. We cannot in good faith make an X for political parties who only know and care about us during election time,” he said.

Large red X

Adams said the group believed that by doing this they would let the system know through the spoilt votes that they refuse to be forgotten and did not want to be lied to year after year. 

They asked everyone to make an X across their ballot papers. Their members wore white T-shirts with a large red X drawn across it.  

One of the campaign’s leaders, Judith Kennedy, posted on Wednesday morning that an SAPS member driving a Mazda 323 sedan came to her home and asked her to speak to someone on his cellphone.

Kennedy said the person on the other end of the line said he was a Colonel Traut from the Hawks. He allegedly told her he had noted the campaign and said she would be arrested if she was found with a sharp object inside the voting booth. 

People responded to her post by saying she had been intimidated and urged her to open a case with the police. 

Nicolene Manuel wrote, “they are scared of the #ImspoilingmyBallotwithMyBlood campaign… Long live the spirit of no surrender, Long Live.” 

Others told Kennedy she should be ashamed of her campaign. 

Judith Kennedy's Facebook post and the comments that followed.

'Call her to order'

Eric Nduna said it was a waste of time and energy to go to a polling station just to spoil a ballot paper. “It’s also foolish,” Nduna said. He said he was disappointed in Kennedy and someone should call her to order. 

Kennedy responded that she did not care what he thought of her “while people are dying here every day and no one gives a s***. And out of interest sake WHO must call me to order… I only answer to this community of Bonteheuwel.” 

Western Cape IEC officer, Courtney Sampson, said they had been aware of the campaign for about a month.

“It is a group of people who want their votes recorded,” said Sampson.

He said that by 15:00 the threat that people would mark their ballots with blood did not appear to have materialised, as nobody had hurt themselves in voting stations.

He could not comment as yet on how many spoilt ballots the area would record, but said the IEC would take special note of this when they started counting.  

“It is people’s right to voice their opinions, but they will not be allowed into voting stations with sharp objects,” he said.  

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