IEC seeks legal opinion on No-vote campaign

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Copy of ct Vukani launch 03 (41351052) INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Former ministers Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and Ronnie Kasrils launched their No-vote campaign at Wits on Tuesday. Photo: Antoine de Ras

Johannesburg - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has requested a legal opinion on the campaign for voters to spoil their ballots on May 7 in protest against corruption as spearheaded by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and ex-deputy health minister Noziziwe Madlala-Routledge.

IEC deputy chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo on Wednesday morning confirmed to Independent Newspapers that a legal opinion had been requested, but emphasised the commission had not made any decision and did not want to pre-empt the legal opinion.

The IEC in Pretoria did not respond to a request for further comment and clarification by deadline.

However, it is understood that concerns may have arisen because the spoiling call could be too close to a call not to vote at all. The electoral code of conduct prohibits inducement or rewards to, among others, not vote, or to vote in a particular way, to join a political party or to vote for a particular party.

However, the “Vukani! Sidikwe! (Wake up! We are Fed up!) Vote No” campaign does not offer any inducements, but argues that if traditional ANC voters could not identify another political home, they should spoil their votes in protest against corruption and current government policies.

On Wednesday morning, President Jacob Zuma described the campaign as a “very funny thing” in an interview with SABC radio news.

“It's a very funny thing… he (Kasrils) was not just a comrade, he was a friend. Maybe at some point we will have an opportunity to meet him and engage him,” Sapa quoted Zuma as saying.

On Tuesday, the ANC rejected the No-vote campaign as “disruptive, reckless and counter-revolutionary”.

Several cabinet ministers on Monday also dismissed the spoil your vote campaign with some three weeks to go before the elections.

“It is irresponsible. It is treacherous and, I believe, it is a betrayal of everything that we fought for in this country. People laid their lives on the line to get the right to vote,” said Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula during a briefing on government’s election readiness.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Tuesday also dismissed the campaign

“Mobilising citizens to spoil their votes is a clear call on the electorate not to vote (for) the ANC, which is regrettable and potentially threatens the gains already made by the ANC when both comrades where in government and in the leadership of the ANC and alliance structures,” NUM said.

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