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ANC-IFP poll hostage drama

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IOL  South Africa Election

AP

South Africans queue to vote at a polling station in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, on Wednesday. File photo: Themba Hadebe

Johannesburg - A tense stand-off was underway in Alexandra, Joburg north, on Thursday morning with IFP hostel-dwellers surrounding an ANC office in the area.

According to available information, the local IEC officials had also been taken hostage.

Gauteng ANC spokesman, Nkenke Kekana said the “situation is turning ugly”.

“ANC party agents were held hostage from 3am, threatened with their lives,” he said.

Kekana claimed ANC members were held hostage by IFP members when they realised they lost all voting districts to the ANC in their stronghold of Alexandra’s Madala and Nobuhle hostels.

The drama escalated on Thursday morning when more than 300 IFP members stormed into the ANC offices in Alexandra, demanding ANC party agents and the branch chairman, Mpho Moerane, leave.

Moerane told The Star the trouble began at the voting station when IFP party agents realised the ballot which were described as spoilt papers were indeed ANC votes.

“It was then that the IFP party agent started to cause chaos inside the voting station. The police who are situated behind the voting station arrived and tried to speak to the IFP agents to calm the situation. The police tried to negotiate with them but they refused. The IEC also tried to negotiate with them but they also refused.

“Another guy known as Superman within the ANC managed to free one of our party agents. The IFP continued to hold another hostage,” Moerane said.

He said later police arrived and calmed the situation and we then went back to our offices at the Multipurpose Centre in Alexandra.

“We are still held hostage. It was about 5am when these people stormed our offices and demanded us to leave our office.

“They claimed that they wanted to search our offices to look for hidden ballot papers. We refused because we are also renting the office block,” Moerane.

The ANC, IEC and IFP all have offices in the multipurpose centre.

Moerane claimed the IFP initially raided the IEC offices and queried the outcome of the polls.

At midday, he said: “We are still being held hostage. The number of them has decreased to 200. They have now come up with a new demand to search our cars and look for ballot papers. We are still refusing,” Moerane said.

The Star contacted one of the IFP members at the scene, Mimi Ndlovu who refused to comment and then referred us to another male member who said: “There is nothing like that. No comment.

ANC staff in the IEC’s elections results centre said they were requesting the Alexandra ANC staff to stay in the centre.

“The ANC people in the office are fearing for their lives. The IFP people say they must leave the office, and then the IFP people will go. But where?” said one, adding she feared loss of life.

ANC deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte said the while the party was concerned for its staff, they were on the 2nd floor of the office and the area was enclosed with a security fence.

“It appears people in the hostel are unhappy that the ward has gone to ANC, (but) the IEC has investigated and found nothing undue happening,” Duarte said.

She said the IFP had agreed to send its leadership to Alexandra to talk to its supporters. “But they don’t appear to be listening to their own leadership. The police are on the ground,” Duarte said.

Political Bureau


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