Malema reacts to wife's nail controversy: What's next? Women being asked to remove their weaves to vote

2019-05-08 19:36
EFF leader Julius Malema, 2019 election
EFF leader Julius Malema cast his ballot in Seshego on Wednesday. (Rosetta Msimango/City Press)

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema says Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) volunteers and staff should know the rules which govern elections "by heart", after his wife was almost forced to remove one of her nails before she could cast her vote in Seshego, Limpopo.

Mantwa Matlala-Malema and her husband arrived at a polling station in the EFF commander-in-chief's hometown around 11:00.

Once inside, Mantwa was told she would have to remove one of her artificial nails so that the official could mark her finger.

Malema, speaking after casting his vote, said he found this "bizarre".

"And I said to her (the IEC official), 'Where is that written in the rules, that women who have long nails can't vote? We cannot have such patriarchal arrangements happening in the voting station, and the electoral officer came and said there is no such a thing," said Malema.

He added that the volunteer who marked the voters' fingers had a scissor which she gives women to use to remove their nails.

"It must never be costing [sic] for people to vote. Because to put nails [costs] money. And for someone to give you a scissor to [remove] the nail, are they going to pay for it? It can't be."

[MUST WATCH]: CIC @Julius_S_Malema addressing the issue of an IEC staff member with a scissor to remove Women's nails.

Malema said it was important for IEC staff to know the rules that apply to elections.

"We don't run elections through common sense. We ought to know the rules by heart. Because when you are challenged [and] you can't produce anything, [then] it's very clear you are using your emotions, your feelings to decide what needs to happen."

In true Malema style, he had the media and those listening to him laughing with his final comment on the matter.

"The next thing they're going to say is women must take out weaves, because they want to see if it's really them on the ID - such nonsensical things. It starts small like that. Before you know it, it's something that's institutionalised. It must be challenged. Even now."

Despite the incident, Malema said the voting experience was "smooth and quicker".

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