Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Voting in South Africa 2011

 One chicken, one vote......

Johannesburg - Drumsticks, thighs, wings. Lift-off. It’s an election manifesto with a difference as wannabe councillors find meaty ways to get votes.

In Gauteng, an incumbent councillor in Ekurhuleni has been accused of giving chicken portions and alcohol to buy votes, while rural people in KwaZulu-Natal were given money and alcohol to disrupt a community meeting and vote for their preferred candidate.

ANC spokesperson Brian Sokuthu warned against this “un-ANC” behaviour, saying it was not the culture and tradition of the party to buy votes.

“In fact, buying votes is un-ANC. If these claims are brought to our attention we should be able to investigate them,” Sokutu warned.

Chicken bribe

Community members are up in arms in ward 60 in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, over claims that councillor John Thaba gave out chicken packs, money and alcohol to win votes in Sphamandla informal settlement. At least eight community members confirmed the chicken bribe claims.

Thaba would neither confirm nor deny the allegations levelled against him. “You can put it in the newspaper; it is not going to make any difference. I am still going to be a councillor. I can’t say whether they are lying or not,” he said, ending the call.

An employee of a major retail shop in the area said: “People came here with big trolleys and bought all the chicken. There was nothing left.”

A community member warned that councillors are taking advantage of poor people. After Sphamandla residents were fed chicken on the evening of January 8, they were then transported in a truck to a local school where they voted in favour of Thaba, said a source.

An elderly woman said her neighbours received chicken portions. “JT (Thaba) fed these people.”


A community leader said the gogo sitting in front of him on voting day unknowingly blurted out the chicken bribe scandal. “I overheard this old woman saying, ‘is he (Thaba) the one who gave us chicken yesterday’. She was not aware that it was supposed to be a secret,” the leader said.

This has infuriated ANC members who said that Thaba works against party guidelines.

“He is making us despise the ANC we love so much. The ANC is going to lose this ward if it goes ahead and chooses him to serve as a councillor again,” said an ANC member who lives in the area.

In rural Gcilima, near Margate in KwaZulu-Natal, money and alcohol was also used to try and influence the outcome of the nomination process.

“People were given money and alcohol. The purpose was for them to disrupt the meeting and vote for a particular candidate. They tried to corrupt the processes of the ANC but failed,” a community member said.


 Mayor cries foul on voter registration

Johannesburg - Midvaal Executive Mayor Timothy Nast has laid charges of electoral fraud against eight people who registered to vote over the weekend and gave non-existent addresses, the Democratic Alliance said on Monday.

Nast met with the chief electoral officer Pansy Tlakula and the matter would now be investigated by the Independent Electoral Commission, the party said.

The DA said further charges could be laid if the addresses of another 100 voters were found to be false.

"This is against the background of a determined ANC using every illegal means possible to try and win the successfully run DA council of Midvaal."

The DA claimed that ANC voters not resident in the area were being bussed in to register in Midvaal. It also claimed a 73-year-old DA supporter, Edward Wenger, was assaulted by an ANC agent when he was taking pictures of the ANC group which was bussed in to register at the station on Saturday.

Police arrived and arrested him instead, the DA said.

Wenger appeared in the Meyerton Magistrate's Court on Monday morning where proceedings were delayed and the case was postponed for a week for further investigations.

Wenger has since laid a counter charge of assault against the ANC party agent and a charge of unlawful arrest against the police.

DA spokesperson for safety and security Kate Lorimer said the police actions indicated that members of the SAPS were not playing an impartial role in the electoral process.

"Members of our police service cannot afford to be seen as being partial to one political party.

"I call on the provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Petros, to immediately suspend the SAPS members involved and conduct an urgent internal investigation." Lorimer said she would lay a complaint with the Internal Complaints Directorate before day-end on Monday.

"I have received the case number," she said.

No ANC help, no votes - union

Johannesburg - The ANC must intervene in problems municipal workers face or risk losing their votes, the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) said on Monday.
"We find it impossible to convince our members and the community to do this [vote] until the issues have been resolved," general secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo told reporters during the union's national executive committee meeting in Johannesburg.
He said Samwu took a decision at its 2009 congress to support the ANC, on the premise that the party become "worker friendly".
"This position is becoming increasing unlikely to believe."
The union raised concerns that many issues affecting workers had not been incorporated into the ANC's election manifesto.
"The manifesto continues to provide for the needs of capitalists. We fear that the dire straits of working class communities will continue to be ignored after the election."
The union called on the ANC to intervene in matters affecting municipal workers at their workplaces, or else they would not vote for the ruling party.
The union has been involved in a spate of industrial action in Gauteng recently.
A strike by Samwu-affiliated Metrobus drivers in Johannesburg entered its fourth week on Monday. They were unhappy about changes to their shift rosters.
Over 900 Samwu members were fired following an illegal strike which left one person dead in Pretoria last week.
About 22 Samwu strikers were arrested in Kempton Park on Monday for offences ranging from public violence to intimidation and assault. They went on strike in protest against seven of their shop stewards being fired last month.
Nhlapo said the union was concern that members were being fired for blowing the whistle on corruption, and because of striking.
"We call for a two-hour national stoppage in every municipality, on the day of comrade Msiza's funeral," he said, referring to Tshwane shop steward Petros Msiza, 43, who was killed during clashes with the police in Pretoria last Thursday.
The union called on the ANC to reinstate workers dismissed for participating in the Tshwane strike.
Nhlapo said the union would consult the ANC and Cosatu before the end of the week to table its concerns. If these were not resolved the union threatened to boycott the election.

Lion 'intimidates' prospective voters....

Pretoria - Prospective voters in the Vhembe region in Limpopo were "intimidated" - by a lion - when they tried to register over the weekend.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) provincial electoral chief, Nkaro Matete, said at a media conference in Polokwane on Monday that the lion had apparently escaped from the Makuye park near Mutale.

The animal apparently prevented some local residents from registering for the local government election in May.

"There was a reported case of intimidation in Mutale where a lion scared off several voters from voting stations," said Matete.

She said police and game rangers looked for the lion on Saturday but couldn't find the animal.

Other problems

The lion wasn't the only problem faced by the IEC in the province over the voter registration weekend, she said, adding that they were worried about people being bussed into five registration stations in the Moglakwena and Ba-Phalaborwa municipal areas.

Matete also said three registration stations in the province didn't open due to opposition by traditional leaders who wouldn't allow the buildings to be unlocked.

In the Blouberg municipal area, the registration station in the Selaelo Primary School was also closed due to protests about border demarcations. IEC officials were also apparently intimidated.

More than 204 000 people visited 2 783 registration stations in the province over the weekend.
- Beeld

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