The Economic Freedom Fighters in Mpumalanga deem Wednesday’s local government elections as unfair and the IEC as “seriously reckless,” provincial organiser Cyril Chuene said on Thursday.
The party in the province will continue to explore other avenues, Chuene said, after the IEC didn’t attend to their twenty-three complaints.
“The EFF regrets the conduct of the IEC, it’s uncalled for”, Chuene said shortly after preliminary results were announced.
“The IEC’s conduct was uncalled for, hence we deem the elections not being fair. We have experienced a number of irregularities”.
Chuene said in other municipalities like Mbombela, ballot boxes were taken from one area to another “without being closed or sealed”.
“Yes, they were not sealed. I’m talking about between four and six ballot boxes. And that is very much careless of the IEC”, said Chuene.
Again, in Mbombela, ward 31, the IEC had a presiding officer “who happened to open a voting station late, at 11:00, in which people were turned back home because there was no voting station.
“When we queried about such we found that the very same presiding officer is a teacher in the very same voting station”.
He said when they were doing home visits during Tuesday’s special votes the presiding officer of Mbombela’s ward 31 “took the ballot boxes home, citing the reasons that he was hungry and wants to have lunch and needed to go to the house. He took the ballot boxes with him and the ballot boxes were opened and then he came back with the ballot boxes after three hours still opened.”
Chuene said his party “deemed that as irregularity.”
“Here in Bushbuckridge, ward 1, we have seen people voting on two ballots. Remember, here you have got local municipalities and then you have got district municipalities. So you vote for a ward councillor candidate, you vote for a PR candidate, you vote for the PR candidate in the district – so it makes three ballots.
“But in ward 1 people were voting on only two ballot papers throughout the day and we wondered what is happening. Again, in Nkomazi we found that the ballot papers were more than what was on the voters roll and in other cases, we had situations of an ANC councillor candidate fetching people with his car to come vote.
“And he fed them. Made food for them and most of them started calling us, they said ‘we are in the wrong place, this man said he is transporting us to the voting station’.
“Nothing was done. We have lodged a complaint with the IEC. Basically we are confused.”
Twenty three complaints have been raised so far by the EFF in Mpumalanga and nothing was forth coming, Chuene stated, saying in another case in Mbombela “a full box of ballot papers disappeared”.
“And when we asked they said that the matter is in the hands of the police and that all of them don’t know how the matter got lost.
“So we are worried that people who have come to cast their votes, those votes have disappeared and therefore their rights have been taken”.
“As EFF we are saying the level of irregularity at the IEC is uncalled for and we are saying these elections were not free and fair. And therefore we will object and explore other avenues and deal with the incompetence of IEC staff”.
Mpumalanga IEC spokesman Steve Ngwenya said they have heard many complaints from the EFF since political parties started campaigning but as IEC he said there was currently nothing in writing.
“We have heard through our staff of EFF complaints. I don’t have any in writing,” said Ngwenya.
At 4pm with 77% of counting completed, the ANC was leading with 70.32% of the vote, followed by the DA at 14% and the EFF at 9.24%.
(edited by ZK)