Politics/27 July 2023, 07:22am/ Mandla Nkosi
By Mandla Nkosi: The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of Free State is currently investigating allegations of voter registration interference by the African National Congress (ANC). The claims were brought forward following last week’s by-election in Mangaung Metro Municipality’s Ward 49.
Independent candidate Lehlohonolo Moqolo made the serious allegations, accusing the ANC of electoral fraud, thuggery, vote buying, and intimidation. Despite these claims, the ANC was successful in recapturing all four wards in the recent by-election.
The by-election was necessitated when the ruling party dismissed its councillors because they had voted with the opposition, supporting Afrikan Alliance of Social Democrats leader Papie Mokoena as the Executive Mayor. Mokoena’s mayorship was subsequently interdicted by the Free State high court just a week after his election. The ANC had requested the interdict, stating that the council processes followed for Mokoena’s election were illegal.
In a related investigation, the IEC is also explaining the registration process for the recent by-elections in George, Western Cape. This follows allegations by the GOOD party that the Democratic Alliance (DA) had fraudulently registered some voters in three contested wards. The DA, which won two of these contested wards, thereby securing outright majority to govern the municipality, has denied these allegations.
In response to the controversy, the IEC’s Deputy CEO Masego Sheburi stated, “When the matter was raised we delinked the addresses from the point of interest in the ward and defaulted those people to their correct addresses as they supplied them, which locates them within the VD and the ward.”
Sheburi further confirmed the legitimacy of the voters in question, stating, “We further confirmed that those people were entitled to vote in that ward. The allegation that those people were bussed in recently is also not founded because those people have been historically registered in that ward and some of them have voted in elections that were held in that municipality in that ward.”
As the investigations continue, the IEC is committed to ensuring transparency and fairness in electoral processes. The results of these investigations could have significant implications for future elections in South Africa.