The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Steve Tshwete says it is concerned about fairness in the coming by-elections of ward 25 given discrepancies it had found on the voters’ register of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
“Since we say we want elections that are fair, is it fair elections that are going to take place?” asked the party’s newly elected regional head honcho Poppy Mailola. Mailola alleges that they have picked up a number of people, not residing in the ward but are registered on the voters’ roll to vote in the ward by-elections on 4 October in Mhluzi.
She told the Highveld Chronicle that they encountered the damning errors while conducting their own verification, during door-to-door visits, using the updated IEC register issued on the 6th of September. “We found that there are people who are registered on the voters roll but do not reside in ward 25. We followed the stand numbers provided on the voters roll; we moved from house to house looking for those particular people and found that whilst the people are there, they do not live within ward 25 and have never lived or rented there,” Poppy Mailola concluded.
The EFF state that they have so far identified more than 20 of the flaws and are proceeding with thorough investigations before lodging a formal complaint with the election body, IEC. They further indicate that a ruinous error like this could have been prevented if there were measures of verifying the proof of address of peoples addresses as provided for on the voters’ roll.
Local IEC officer Elvis Ngcobo dismissed Mailola’s allegations as false and baseless. “We rely on the information provided by the people who register. So far, the information we have corresponds with that of the people residing in the ward,” Ngcobo said. He added, “If we suspect that a person does not reside at the stand number provided, we do not proceed with registration. It is a criminal offence to mislead the commission by giving wrong information.”
The freedom fighters and ruling party are at each other’s throat to fill the position left vacant after ANC councillor Michael “Mhlekazi’’ Mbatiwe passed away on the 3rd of July this year. Since last week they have been pitching tents at strategic points at extension 8 in an attempt to lure voters to put a mark on their preferred ward candidates, a battle between Joseph Ngobeni (EFF) and Patrick Malinga (ANC).