The affordable education loan option
Durban - Wrangling over the disputed Nongoma,KwaZulu-Natal, by-elections looks far from over, with the National Freedom Party indicating on Thursday that it would challenge the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) decision to investigate the objections made by rival parties.
Nhlanhla Khubisa, the NFP secretary-general, said the party was to file its formal objection by on Thursday, and promised that it would take the matter as far as it could if need be.
The NFP believes the IEC has erred by even investigating the objections made by the IFP and the ANC in relation to two by-elections in Nongoma.
It said this would set a bad precedent as it means “that if a party feels disgruntled with the results it can exert undue influence on the IEC”.
Last week the IFP and the ANC objected to the Ward 11 and Ward 10 by-election results on the basis that special votes had not been counted. IEC officials had allegedly “forgotten” to stamp the special votes, meaning they could not be counted.
In ward 10 NFP candidate Mbongeleni Ntombela received 906 votes, followed closely by Bhekithemba Nyembe of the ANC with 903 votes. The ANC argued therefore that the three votes that were not counted could have a material impact on the outcome of the election.
The IFP lodged an objection to the Ward 11 by-elections, claiming that at least 21 special votes had not been counted. These, too, would have had a material impact on the outcome of the by-election which was won by NFP candidate Nombuyana Ncube with just 889 votes compared to the 880 votes garnered by the IFP’s Nkosinathi Nzimande.
“It was not the first time by-elections were held in KZN, and Nongoma particularly. It is highly irregular now that the NFP has won: parties call for a recount or a re-election,” said Khubisa.
The NFP said by instituting the investigations the IEC was setting a bad precedent. Hlabisa said the law was clear that those votes without an official stamp cannot be counted and felt the two objections should therefore not have been entertained.
The provincial electoral officer for KZN, Mawethu Mosery, said the IEC had not done any recount as yet. “What we have done is merely an investigation into what happened on October 22 and 23. The investigation is forensic in nature,” he said.
Mosery said an announcement would be made as soon as the investigation report was received. The report was expected to be completed today.
Despite the IEC saying there had been no recount, the Daily News understands that in Ward 10 the three special votes under dispute were counted as part of the investigation.
Two of them were in favour of the ANC while one was a vote for the NFP. This would mean that the NFP still won the ward by one vote.
ANC spokesman Senzo Mkhize said his party accepted this outcome. By making the objection the ANC wanted to highlight a problem, he said.
IFP deputy national chairman Albert Mncwango said his party would await the IEC decision. He defended the objections made, saying those who cast the special votes could not be robbed of their rights.
He said the IFP was also within its rights to object as this was provided for in the Electoral Act.