Pre-election Dramas

By Oliver Ngwenya    06-May-2014 23:41 UTC+02:00

ELECTIONS-IECThis was literally the last day before the Election Day in South Africa and as can be expected, there were a lot of dramas that were reported on Tuesday.

A residing officer in the Independent Electoral Commission was dismissed from his post, together with his deputy after polling materials were found at a polling agent’s house. They claimed, in their defence that the materials had been left at the agent’s house for safe keeping since she lives next door to the polling station. This happened in Springs in Kwatema, which is ward 77. The IEC’s Mashego Sheburi told reporters that the police had opened a docket to find out if there was any breach of the law.

Apparently, the polling station where this occurred was a tent and therefore temporary so the poling officers decided not to leave the ballot boxes there but rather at a neighbour’s house, which turned out to be that of an ANC polling agent. The ANC, on the other hand has indicated that it has handed down a ban on the polling agent in question for violating electoral laws and that she would not be participating in the current election.

In reaction to this incident, political parties contesting this election have warned the IEC that they must pull up their socks in order to run a free and fair election. Democratic Alliance’s Mmusi Maimane and ANC’s Jackson Mthembu insisted it was the role of the commission to run free and fair election.

In another development, a polling station in Richards Bay in KwaZulu Natal was burnt during service delivery protests on Tuesday. In reaction to this incident and in preparation for the election on Wednesday, the police had deployed more than a thousand police details in order to combat violence during the polls. Speaking at a parade of the police officers, Police Commissioner, Mmamonnye Ngobeni said the police would take the implementation of the law seriously and that all would be law breakers should be warned.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Court has dismissed an application by African National Congress Vryheid member, Andre Lotterto to have five Independent Electoral Commissioners removed. Lotter had applied to the Electoral court requesting that the five commissioners – Pansy Tlakula, Terry Tselane, Mlindelwa Makhanya, Bongani Finca and Raenette Taljaard step down as they could not ensure a free and fair election. The court did not however, give reasons saying that these would be communicated in due course.

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