IFP ire at IEC response to ANC
THE IFP has lashed the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for approaching the Electoral Court to postpone the hotly-contested by-elections to be held at uPhongolo Municipality on Wednesday.
The IFP said it noted with concern the speedy response of the IEC to act on a complaint by the ANC, which it said was desperate to control the municipality.
On Friday, the IEC filed papers with the court following an objection by the ANC about people appearing on the voters’ roll for Ward 7, although they did not reside there.
IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said the ANC alleged that about 380 people were incorrectly registered in Ward 76, which has 3 983 registered voters.
“Having considered the objection, the Electoral Commission took the decision to approach the court and the MEC to postpone the by-election to allow further fieldwork and other initiatives to identify and, if necessary, correct the registration of voters in this ward,” Bapela said.
She said the court application was to request approval of the extension of the 90-day period to hold a by-election after a ward vacancy has been declared.
But IFP national chairman Blessed Gwala said his party was shocked that the IEC had acted so swiftly on the matter. “We note this in a serious light. There are things we have complained about to the IEC, but they never acted,” he said.
Gwala listed instances of voter irregularities the IFP had reported to the IEC in past by-elections in other municipalities, but which were allegedly never considered by the electoral body.
“How are we to take the IEC seriously?” Gwala asked.
He also said the increase in the number of voters in the ward could be because of demarcation that ceded parts of Ward 4 and Ward 8. “There is nothing that warrants postponement, because it is obvious that voters from the two wards would increase the number of voters in Ward 7.”
But ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma said the IEC’s action was confirmation of their discovery of people registered in the ward, although not residing there.
“We were able to prove there are people who do not live there. There are allegations that they (fraudulent voters) come from Swaziland,” he said.