A ward in KwaZulu-Natal’s KwaDukuza Local Municipality has been rocked by revelations on Monday that pensioners voted twice, casting a special vote and then voting again on election day, while election officials at one voting station were all allegedly actively involved with the African National Congress in the region.
So serious are the allegations, that the Democratic Alliance opened a criminal case of electoral fraud at the KwaDukuza police station. The Inkatha Freedom Party and the Economic Freedom Fighters have lodged complaints with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) over the events that transpired in Ward 1 of KwaDukuza (formerly Stanger) in the days leading up to the election and on election day itself.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed that the case of electoral fraud had been opened.
“A case in terms of the Electoral Act is being investigated by detectives at the KwaDukuza police station. We cannot reveal further information as the matter is still under investigation. No arrests have been made, investigations are continuing,” he said.
The case was opened by the DA’s Thokozani Gumede, a proportional representative councillor in the municipality, who was also a candidate in Ward 1, which was ultimately won by Dumisani Ndimande.
Gumede said he opened the case after it was discovered that IEC volunteers — who are allegedly ANC office bearers — supposedly ensured pensioners in Ward 1 voted twice. They allegedly voted on August 2 for their special votes and then again on August 3 at one of the four polling stations in the ward.
Gumede claimed that after the pensioners had cast their special votes at their homes on August 2, a traffic officer allegedly picked them up in Ndimande’s car and “ferried them to the polling station” on August 3 to vote again.
The traffic officer, according to Gumede, was allegedly the grandson of one of the pensioners who voted twice. The 85 year-old-woman had since died of natural causes.
Gumede said the pensioners received no indelible ink marks on their thumbs and did not have their fingerprints taken when casting their special votes.
One of the pensioners has allegedly made a statement to the police about voting twice.
“Meanwhile, the elections at Sokesimbone Hall (a polling station in Ward 1) were entirely conducted by members, so called IEC-officials, related to ANC Regional Executive Committee member Bernard Mthombeni, who is also an Ndimande ally,” Gumede said.
“The ANC branch office bearers who were employed as ‘IEC officials’ on election day were Ntobe Mthiyane (chairperson of the ANC youth league in Ward 1); her deputy, Cabangani Mtshali; Vincent Mathaba (a well-known party campaigner in the ward prior to elections); Thabitha Panhela (an ANC campaigner) and Fakazile Danise (ANC branch treasurer),” said Gumede.
“Ndimande has been a councillor since the transition period (of 1996) following the untimely death of his brother, Lucky Ndimande. Scores of dissatisfied ANC members and community members alike have tried to have him removed but their grievances were apparently ignored by the ANC in KwaDukuza and the [ANC’s] KZN Provincial Executive Committee,” said Gumede.
EFF provincial convenor Marshall Dlamini confirmed on Monday evening that the party had lodged an objection with the IEC.
ANC provincial spokesman Mdumiseni Ntuli could not immediately be reached for comment.
Kate Baphela, IEC national spokeswoman said she could not immediately confirm whether the complaint had been lodged, but would respond on Tuesday.
Mawethu Mosery, the KwaZulu-Natal chief electoral officer said he was not aware of the allegations, but pointed out that all objections had to be lodged by 5pm on August 5.
“There is very little we can do now,” he said referring to the election outcome.
He said that at the time of appointing election officials for the various polling stations, their names would have been submitted to the party liaison committees before the election, where the respective parties could have lodged their objections.
He said that there would be “election reviews” held at every municipality to look back at the elections, to determine what had gone wrong and what could be improved for the next elections.