NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa opposition leader fears ANC poll rigging


Posted on Thursday, 19 May 2016 17:51

South Africa opposition leader fears ANC poll rigging

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town

United Democratic Movement (UDM) president Bantu Holomisa. Photo©Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP/SIPAA South African opposition leader says he has lost faith in the country's independent electoral body as the country gears for high stakes local government elections later this year.

United Democratic Movement (UDM) president Bantu Holomisa said he no longer trusted the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) because it was controlled by the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

You cannot trust the institution (IEC), it is ANC dominated, I know all the commissioners

Holomisa joined other prominent opposition parties, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Front (EFF), in raising questions about the independence of the IEC. He told the Cape Town Press Club that the elections body could not be expected to be impartial when some of its commissioners were linked to the ANC.

"You cannot trust the institution (IEC), it is ANC dominated, I know all the commissioners, they have all been appointed by the ANC," he said. "I don't trust (the IEC) and it's worse in the rural areas."

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said stakes were high for political parties ahead of the elections, hence fears of rigging.

"The stakes are high in 2016, and the political landscape is set to change," said IFP's Elphas Buthelezi. "In these circumstances, we know that the threat of electoral manipulation looms large."

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said his party would ensure that there was "much-needed international oversight of the election process takes place".

At the launch of its election manifesto early this month, the EFF led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema accused the IEC of rigging the 2014 general elections. However, the EFF received a backlash from civic organisations and the government who said the claims were an attack on the country's constitution.

Meanwhile, IEC's Vuma Mashinini urged aggrieved parties to approach the electoral courts if there were any violations.

"The Electoral Court is the relevant authority to pursue allegations of contraventions of the code of conduct. A judge made it clear that he welcomes any member of the public to approach this court directly," he said.

The 2016 local government elections are seen as a crucial litmus test for ANC's rule. It is estimated that 77 percent of South Africans or 6, 6 million voters have registered for the local government poll most likely to be held in August.

Earlier this week President Jacob Zuma and other political parties signed the IEC code of conduct. Thirteen parties pledged their commitment to abiding by the IEC's code ahead of the elections.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen is expected to proclaim the date for the local government elections on Monday.

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