BCM independents to lodge disputes with IEC

Independent candidates contesting elections in Buffalo City Metro (BCM) were dealt a heavy blow when they failed to win a single seat.

None of the 22 independents managed to make a significant impact during Wednesday’s elections after losing in all wards where they fielded what they termed “people’s choices”.

Most of those who contested independently were disgruntled former ANC activists who deserted their political home due to alleged factional battles within party structures during the intense process to select councillor candidates.

Most decided to stand independently after claiming the ANC “imposed” unpopular candidates on their communities at the expense of what the majority of members wanted.

Some of the independent candidates are now crying foul, alleging vote-rigging in their respective areas.

At least 11 independents yesterday confirmed they will be lodging disputes with the IEC before the 5pm cut-off today. Some said they will not hesitate to approach the courts to rectify what they alleged as “gross irregularities”.

Some said should the IEC fail to positively address their disputes, they would not hesitate to approach courts of law in a bid to rectify what they termed as gross irregularities.

Nomajamani Coto, who contested Ward 40, which encompasses various villages outside King William’s Town, yesterday confirmed she would lodge a dispute.

“I was there during counting and discovered that the number of people who had voted in some stations did not correspond with the number of ballots counted,” she alleged.

She claimed at one station, 30 marked ballot papers were a surplus and not counted.

“This means the number of ballots counted was 30 more than the number of people who voted hence our suspicion of vote-rigging.”

Xhanti Bolo of Ward 17, which includes Mdantsane’s NU9, NU6, NU4, Cuba and Eluxolweni village, will also lay a dispute. Yesterday he also alleged irregularities during the counting process.

Bolo charged that he amassed the most votes in some of the stations in his ward and that some of his party agents were chased out in some stations during counting.

Ernest Pono, an independent candidate for Ward 32 that includes areas of Tsholomnqa and Ncera, was also aggrieved by the ANC victory.

“The IEC in our ward behaved like they were ANC people. A presiding officer in one station was the one holding a pen and helping elderly people to vote.”

Pono is one of two independent candidates in the metro who took the IEC to court on the eve of Wednesday’s elections. This after they were disqualified from contesting for allegedly not meeting some requirements.

The matter was later settled out of court and the two candidates were allowed to contest.

IEC provincial head Thamsanqa Mraji yesterday said the commission had not yet received any objections or disputes from independent candidates in BCM.

Mraji said anyone lodging an objection should do so before 5pm today, with the IEC’s head office in Pretoria.

“The national office will then look into the matter and launch an investigation if needs be,” Mraji said. — asandan@dispatch.co.za

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