Irregularities claimed in Metsimaholo elections


THE Independent Electoral Commission may have to rerun by the by-elections in one ward in Metsimaholo. This is due to reports that the Kopanong voting station in one of the wards received the wrong ballot paper. The commission has conceded that the wrong ballot paper inadvertently prejudiced political parties that may not have been represented on the ballot but were contesting the ward. According to reports the ANC managed to win 15 of the 21 wards in the municipality with the DA taking five.

The proportional outcome of the by-election will be announced as soon as the dispute in the ward is resolved. The SACP, which contested the elections separate from its alliance partner, the ANC, for the first time since the dawn of democracy, did not win any wards. The party is in the same boat as the EFF, FF+ and the Metsimaholo Civic Association, which led the coalition that collapsed in July.

The IEC is expected to announce the proportional representation as soon as the dispute is resolved in the one ward. Meanwhile, the SACP said it had lodged an official complaint with the IEC. Spokesperson Philip Kganyago said there had been allegations that polls were rigged as some voters were made to vote in wards far from where they were registered, while some voting stations allegedly had people who were deceased on their voting lists. He said people were bussed in from other areas to vote. He said some of the voters indicated that many of them could not even wear T-shirts that represented their parties because there was a growing tendency of violence among voters simply for wearing a certain colour shirt that reveal their affiliations.

However, Charmaine Mabale, a provincial electoral officer in the area, said that she had not received any complaints. “We have heard that there has been a suspicion of rigging, but there has been no objection or complaint laid with us by the parties concerned.” She said they had earlier on in the elections experienced a few hiccups but they were able to sort them out. Some of the voters said the addresses where they registered at were not corresponding and they were sent from station to station thus becoming frustrated. There were also unconfirmed allegations of violence.

Meanwhile, Cosatu held a meeting of its central executive committee which ended yesterday to discuss organisational, political, international and socio-economic issues affecting workers and the working class in the country. “On the Metsimaholo local elections, the CEC clarified the issue by saying; we have a resolution coming from the 12th national congress of Cosatu to support the ANC during elections,” it said.