South Africa

Politics, South Africa

LGE 2016, The Day Before Tomorrow: ANC’s Tau pays Mbeki a visit, while IEC wraps up special votes

LGE 2016, The Day Before Tomorrow: ANC’s Tau pays Mbeki a visit, while IEC wraps up special votes

On the eve of the local government elections, attention once again was focused on former President Thabo Mbeki. With the IEC wrapping up special votes on Tuesday, now attention will turn to voting day. By GREG NICOLSON.

It was the ANC’s turn on Tuesday to have its leaders’ pictures taken with former President Thabo Mbeki after the EFF made an unexpected visit to his home on Monday, drawing speculation as to why the former ANC leader would meet with the Fighters and pose for photos so close to the polls.

ANC Gauteng mayoral candidates Parks Tau, Thoko Didiza and Mzwandile Masina were expected to meet with Mbeki, but only Tau made the visit.

When the media were invited down the driveway, Mbeki’s spokesman Mukoni Ratshinga said Didiza and Masina had some last-minute campaign work to do.

Why should there be any scrutiny?” asked Mbeki of the EFF’s visit. “You can’t chase people away, can you?” he said. Mbeki didn’t speak to the media on Monday and while appearing with Tau he wore an ANC jacket reading “Greater Joburg Region on the Move”.

Mbeki and Tau, who was accompanied by the ANC’s ward councillor candidate, denied Tuesday’s visit was a response to the EFF’s house call. Responding to questions about not actively campaigning for the ANC, the former president said, “I’m sure the ANC leadership… I’m quite sure they’re capable of handling this, plus I have to be wandering around the continent quite a bit.”

He added, “I think the campaign is in comfortable hands.”

As he told the EFF on Monday, Mbeki on Tuesday said who he will vote for is a secret.

I do hope that all of the registered voters will actually go to vote. It’s important,” Mbeki said. “People of South Africa must give their own view on how their municipality should be governed.”

Away from Mbeki’s house, people continued to cast their special votes on Tuesday, with the Independent Electoral Commission saying the process was on track and provided an opportunity to fine-tune operations.

During the course of Tuesday, the IEC said it was on track to complete special votes through home visits and at voting stations by 17:00.

On Monday, the IEC managed to complete between 50% and 70% of home visits, while the turnout at voting stations varied.

Some voting stations had already closed yesterday after all approved special votes had already been cast. Other voting stations reported a low turnout of voters on day one,” the IEC said in a statement. Over 700,000 people were approved for special votes and those who missed their chance on Monday and Tuesday can still vote on Wednesday.

The IEC said challenges included isolated cases of officials not following the correct procedure, such as the double envelope system, and three cases of people who had not been approved for special votes to cast their ballots.

In all these instances the affected ballots have been quarantined and the commission will, after consultation with the National Political Party liaison committee, determine the way forward,” said the IEC.

Following the challenges, presiding officers and deputy presiding officers have been issued with warnings, while two cases, including allowing non-approved voters to vote and failing to secure ballot boxes, saw the presiding officers and deputy presiding officers at voting stations dismissed. Other challenges included inclement weather in areas of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

Two tents were set alight in Freedom Park, Ekurhuleni, overnight. The IEC said it condemns any disruptions and is working closely with police to protect the elections.

Voters who cast their special vote on Tuesday included ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and the party’s Chairwoman Baleka Mbete, both in different parts of Johannesburg. The deputy president said his vote is well-known and, “We as the ANC remain confident that we’ve worked hard enough. We’ve connected with our people and our people received our message through the length and the breadth of the country, through our township streets, in our rural village areas. We remain confident that we will emerge victorious. I can smell victory,” said Ramaphosa. Mbete’s vote was temporarily delayed as initially she did not have her ID with her.

While there remains speculation about whether the community of Vuwani, Limpopo will protest on Wednesday, President Jacob Zuma spoke to King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana, leader of the vhaVenda, and agreed on the need to ensure peace and lasting stability.

An agreement was reached between government and community representatives over the weekend after 27 schools were torched or damaged in May during protests over a planned municipal merger. “Our commitment as government to continue to dialogue will go a long way in providing a lasting solution that addresses the concerns of the communities,” said the president on Tuesday.

Special voting continued in Vuwani on Tuesday after stations were closed early on Monday. A reported 1,000 police officials are in the area to ensure voting proceeds and at least three people, said to be community leaders, have been arrested.

The country’s largest political parties all remained confident on Tuesday, while new results from an Ipsos poll suggest that the ANC is likely to beat the DA in Johannesburg and Tshwane while the DA will emerge strongest in Nelson Mandela Bay. It predicted that the DA would get 44% of the vote in Nelson Mandela Bay, compared to the ANC’s 37%, while the ANC would take 47% to the DA’s 43% in Tshwane and 46% to the DA’s 41% in Johannesburg. Polling data has been under scrutiny recently and Ipsos’s latest had margins of error ranging from 1.3% to 8%.

It is still uncertain how the exclusion of the National Freedom Party might influence results. On Tuesday, a number of parties made claims to NFP voters.

COPE announced that it had agreed with the NFP’s Kenneth Ntola that NFP supporters should vote COPE in Amajuba, eThekwini, uMgeni, Impendle, Msunduzi, Okhahlamba, Estcourt, Loskop, Ladysmith and Waaihoek.

ANC and NFP leaders in KwaZulu-Natal however said they agreed that NFP supporters should back the ANC rather than voting for smaller parties.

The DA meanwhile has said it has the support of the NFP’s mayor in Nongoma, Zululand.

The NFP failed to pay its election registration fees on time and a court bid to participate in the vote was unsuccessful.

The EFF’s Julius Malema, who has questioned whether the IEC can hold free and fair elections, on Tuesday said the IEC had assured the party it is above individual interests.

Voting stations will be open from 07:00 to 19:00 on Wednesday. DM

Photo: Thabo Mbeki, left, with ANC Johannesburg mayoral candidate Parks Tau at the former president’s home ahead of the local government elections, Joahnnesburg, 2 August 2016 (Greg Nicolson)

Read more:

  • LGE 2016: Tea with Thabo – the election coup de grace in Daily Maverick
  • Listen to the Daily Maverick Show’s discussion with ANC and DA representatives on Tuesday ahead of the vote here

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