- The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has accused the IFP of buying votes in the hotly contested Ward 12 by-elections in Madlankala in the Umhlathuze Local Municipality.
- The party claims the bodyguard of a senior municipal official allegedly paid an elderly woman to vote for the IFP.
- According to the ANC, the bodyguard was angry the woman went to an ANC marquee after receiving the cash and demanded his money back.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has accused the IFP of buying votes during a crucial by-election in the Umhlathuze Local Municipality on Wednesday.
According to the ANC, the bodyguard of a senior municipal official allegedly gave an elderly woman cash outside the voting station for her vote in the by-election.
The chaotic by-election has seen the IFP, and ANC at each other's throats over the last week, as both parties set their sights on winning Ward 12 in Madlankala.
The ANC claimed it reported several issues, including the vote-buying claims, to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) for urgent intervention.
By late Wednesday afternoon, IEC spokesperson Thabani Nqwira said it was yet to receive a formal complaint.
ANC provincial spokesperson Mafika Mndebele was adamant they caught the IFP red-handed in the Mcabango voting district "dishing out wads of cash to eligible voters to vote for their candidate".
"A man believed to be a personal protector … was caught on video grabbing an elderly female citizen after giving her cash.
"He was livid when the elderly citizen, Gogo Mthembu, went to the side marquee of the ANC outside the voting station. The man manhandled the pensioner, demanding his undisclosed amount of money back."
IFP KZN chairperson Thami Ntuli rejected the claim, saying the ruling party had been battling after losing support in the area.
"We had door-to-door campaigns and really don't feel pressure to buy votes. In the video they circulated, I do not see any IFP leader or volunteer involved. Even if the claim is that is a bodyguard of an official, not a bodyguard of an IFP leader, I don't know how they involve us.
"The ANC has been making many allegations since they realised that area was there's and now the IFP is taking over and enjoying support."
Ntuli added the ANC was "losing the plot", particularly after accusing Gift of the Givers of distributing food parcels to IFP supporters.
Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman scoffed at the accusation, telling the ANC he had previously assisted numerous ANC, DA and other party supporters.
He said the organisation, in its 30-year history, had never politically affiliated itself to anybody and labelled the ANC in KZN as "disingenuous".
The battle for the ward has been nothing short of chaotic this week.
The ANC claimed trouble started brewing on Tuesday when IFP members were removed from the Madlankala Community Hall where voting was set to take place.
Mndebele claimed the IFP had permission from the IEC to "erect their operational centre, stocking their electioneering material and candidate posters" in the community hall.
The ANC added neither the IFP nor the IEC's presiding officers could account how IFP material was found inside the voting station.
Ntuli, in turn, vehemently denied the allegations, saying the IFP was in possession of a video showing an ANC member allegedly bullying an IEC official.
"The hall contains a lot of unused materials, including old IFP posters which were produced in 2021. It is utter lies that the storeroom was used as a working station by the IFP. The fact of the matter is that the storeroom was locked and there was nobody inside it," he said.