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South Africa

2019 ELECTIONS

Political parties happy with the Western Cape results — but IEC takes some flak

A South African woman is helped by an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) worker (R) to cast her vote in the general elections at a polling station in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, South Africa, 08 May 2019. Millions of South Africans head to the polls as the country holds its 5th general election since its first democratic election at the end of apartheid. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA

As anticipation mounted over the outcome of Wednesday’s election, Daily Maverick spoke to representatives of some political parties in the Western Cape to get their take on the fast-changing results scenario and the voting process.

Since voting stations closed on Wednesday night, national and provincial votes have been coming in thick and fast. By Thursday at 9.48pm, 90.75% of votes in the Western Cape had been counted.

The DA was relatively comfortably ahead with 55.46%, followed by the ANC with 28.50% and the EFF with 3.38%.

Coming in with the fourth-most votes was Patricia de Lille’s Good party with 3.09%, while the ACDP had 2.67% and the Freedom Front Plus 1.69%.

At the IEC’s Western Cape Results Operation Centre earlier, FF Plus councillor Erika Botha-Rossouw said the party was “very happy with the national results at this stage”.

The people worked very hard to be able to get that vote from our voters,” said Botha-Rossouw.

While a number of parties expressed dissatisfaction with issues the IEC encountered on election day, ranging from failed scanners to claims that some voters had voted more than once, Botha-Rossouw was concerned that some parties had been campaigning on election day outside voting stations.

Our concern about that is because the IEC allowed the DA and (other) parties to canvass and send out marketing materials. We’re supposed to stop marketing 24 hours before voting day, but yesterday (Wednesday) late afternoon, there was a voice note from Helen Zille saying “please, please, vote for the DA, otherwise, the ANC and the EFF will take the province,” Botha-Rossouw told Daily Maverick.

She said that, in response to her complaint, the IEC told her that the parties were not doing anything wrong because “it’s not inside the demarcated area and they can still do that”.

Botha-Rossouw believes that because parties weren’t prevented from campaigning on the day, it led to voters “splitting their vote.”

On the provincial side, we get to see that the voters voted Freedom Front Plus nationally and then they split their vote to vote DA in the province,” said Botha-Rossouw.

The FF Plus has held a parliamentary seat since 1999 and looks set to significantly improve its performance this time around.

People and other parties constantly call us a small party, they say “don’t vote for the small party”. I said to them ‘we are not a small party’,” Botha-Rossouw told Daily Maverick.

Western Cape ACDP provincial chairperson Gaynor Cele said it was hoping to finish third in the province, but by Thursday afternoon it was lagging behind the FF Plus.

We would have wanted to be number three, but we’re number five,” Cele said.

She was still impressed with the party’s performance.

On the board right now, we have a lot more votes than we did in the 2014 elections.”

The Land Party organiser Nomawethu Lamani said she was “feeling good so far”.

Lamani said her party had also lodged complaints with the IEC “because some (voting districts) were issuing two national ballot papers and two provincial papers” and “some other party members assaulted our member in Hermanus”.

There is a problem with the IEC. The IEC is no longer a neutral body,” claimed Lamani.

Earlier, the provincial head of the IEC in the Western Cape Courtney Sampson told a media briefing that the counting process was proceeding smoothly, but that IEC staff were “dog-tired”. Sampson said he needed to decide whether to allow them to continue to work or give them an opportunity to rest. DM

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