The ANC is the chief transgressor when it comes to perpetrating acts of intimidation against members and supporters of opposition political parties in the run-up to the May elections, a study has found.
The report, by independent researcher David Bruce and Mohamed Motala, the executive director of the Community Agency for Social Enquiry, which commissioned the report, painted a grim picture of politicians acting with impunity by manipulating voters and the electoral process to maintain their dominance.
“During the research process it emerged that competition for votes involved not only intimidation, but also other forms of manipulation of the voters and the electoral process. It overwhelmingly pointed to the ANC as the primary source of intimidation in South Africa,” the report reads.
The 102-page report, titled “Just singing and dancing? Intimidation and the manipulation of voters and the electoral process in the build-up to the 2014 elections”, is based on interviews between August and November last year with representatives of nine political parties.
”The primary ways in which political intimidation is practised… is through manipulating people, using misinformation and threats regarding pensions and grants, interfering with access to meeting facilities, assaults and threats of physical harm.
“(It also involves) pushing people associated with rival political parties through the denial of jobs, contracts, (municipal) services and developmental opportunities.”
The Star reported on Wednesday that KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture MEC Meshack Radebe had said those who received social welfare grants, but voted for opposition political parties, were stealing from the government.
In January, there were vote-rigging allegations made against the ANC in Tlokwe, North West, after eight independent candidates filed court papers challenging the legitimacy of the by-elections.
In parallel with this, political intimidation and vote-rigging included the targeted use of government resources to promote parties immediately before the elections, the report noted.
In August last year, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini sparked controversy when she distributed food parcels and blankets to people in Tlokwe’s ward 9.