ANC KZN spokesperson Nomagugu-Simelane Zulu has joined provincial party secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli in pushing citizens to take advantage of the final hours of the general election to vote. Photo by African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal says opposition parties need to stop being opportunistic in their criticism of the Electoral Commission of South Africa.

The South African Police Service confirmed on Thursday that it had arrested 20 people for contravening the electoral act. From the 20 people arrested, 19 were arrested in KZN, while one person was arrested in the northern Johannesburg suburb of Douglasdale.

Earlier, the DA and the IFP expressed discontent with the breach. The IEC confirmed the fraudulent votes would be counted as there was no way of isolating them.

ANC KZN spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said the party was pleased with the manner in which the IEC had conducted the election process.

“The ANC has noted with concern the chorus of complaints by some political parties about the electoral process, particularly as it relates to reports of double voting, ink removal by some voters and the entire process relating to voting in a voting district where a voter is not registered,” said Simelane-Zulu.

She said taking into consideration the geographical vastness of the country and province, the party was pleased with how the IEC had conducted the elections.

“Notwithstanding the few reported incidents related to service delivery protests in various municipalities, the elections substantively were conducted in an environment conducive to a matured democracy,” she added.

Simelane-Zulu said the commission should be given space to deal with concerns that have been raised.

“The IEC is one of the post-apartheid institutions we are proud of as a country and we are confident of its transparency and  it's ability to deal decisively with all elements that threaten to compromise the credibility of the elections. We ask that the IEC be allowed space to respond to all the queries being raised and not suffer unwarranted attacks that are intended to impugn on its reputation,” she said.

“We therefore call on the political parties to desist from their opportunistic criticism of the IEC and request them to speedily provide tangible evidence of the reported breaches of the electoral process so that the integrity and credibility of the elections are not marred in anyway. The emerging numbers are not comfortable to some, hence reasons to discredit the IEC are being sensationalised,” she said.  

“We ask all those participating in the election to be true democrats in that they should accept their impending defeat graciously and not engage in desperate tactics of discrediting the IEC,” she said.

By 7pm, with 40% of the vote count down, the KZN provincial results showed that the ANC was leading with 54.47% of the votes, followed by the buoyant IFP at 19.76%, the DA at 11.89% and 8.68%.

Earlier, IFP chief whip Naren Singh said they were concerned that people were able to vote twice.

“I don’t see why as a country we have not evolved into a system of a central database, where you go into certain centres where you want to cast a vote via Section 24, you press a button and they find you have already voted somewhere else,” said Singh.

Singh said the syndicates behind the double voting should be exposed and punished, along with those who had carried out the crime.

DA KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango was also scathing, saying the IEC should be “ashamed”.

“In fact this is the worst elections we have ever had before. You ask yourself, how is it possible that the IEC can come and tell the public that they can’t verify when someone has voted more than once. That is a problem and I don’t think in a democracy you want such because you want us as leaders to accept the results and keep peace in our province and our country, but if you start to doubt the process, it creates problems,” he said.

Sunday Tribune