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Potchefstroom - Political parties on Tuesday said they respected the postponement of municipal by-elections in Tlokwe, North West, scheduled for Wednesday in five wards.
The Electoral Court on Tuesday found in favour of five independent candidates who wanted to contest the by-elections.
The African National Congress echoed the court order and called for a full investigation into the conduct of an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) official who registered candidates.
“The ruling of the court today is neither a victory, setback nor a loss for the African National Congress as we were neither an applicant nor a respondent in the matter,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
“It is our assertion that today’s ruling is merely a temporary delay in the inevitable victory of the will of the people in Tlokwe.”
He said the ANC also noted reports of incidents of violence and said anyone found guilty of any misconduct would be held responsible and brought to book.
“This behaviour is indicative of those who are afraid of the process of democracy and are thus prepared to resort to illegal means to intimidate others.”
He said the ruling party was combat-ready for the by-elections on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance said it would closely observe the conduct of the IEC officials during the by-elections.
“It is important that the credibility of the IEC be restored this would demand a transparent and thorough investigation by the IEC,” Chris Hattingh said in a statement.
“Incidents such as what happened today where the IEC conducted the special votes process without voting booths in full view of ANC members who then rewarded every ANC voter with a parcel of fruit left a perception that irregularities within the IEC may have become systemic.”
He said the image and brand of the IEC as an independent and fair election agent suffered “serious damage” in the past weeks.
The court held that the Independent Electoral Commission should ask the responsible North West MEC to postpone the by-elections to be held on Wednesday in five wards - 1, 4, 11, 12 and 20.
The court held that the IEC launch a full investigation into the conduct of official John Makodi during the period August 8, 2013 to August 27, 2013 concerning the registration of the applicants for the municipal by-elections.
The court also held that applicants Aaron Mhlope, Johanna Xaba, Beauty Dikupe, Catherine Molefe and James Zicina should be allowed to register as candidates in their respective wards.