One week from polls, rich crop of fraud claims

The Bureau for Information says that 173 097 people - or 11,8 percent of registered voters - have already cast "prior votes" for the black local authorities. However, allegations of abuses of the electoral system are flowing in from all over the country. Many of these are backed with substantial evidence - including court rulings.

  • Khayelitsha candidate and squatter leader, Mali Hoza, is alleged in court records to be in control of an informal police force known as “Hoza’s gangsters" and a network of subchiefs who run "bush courts". These allegations were contained in an affidavit supporting an application by a 23-year old Khayelitsha resident for a supreme court interdict restraining Hoza and his men from interfering with him. An interim interdict was issued earlier this month. This week candidates competing for Khayelitsha's 20 seats alleged that Hoza supporters on Sunday assaulted people and threatened to demolish their homes if they did not vote for Hoza and his 19 person committee. They also claimed that young women employed at Khayelitsha's four polling stations were Hoza supporters who were "telling people where to make their crosses". Hoza could not be contacted by the Weekly Mail to answer these allegations and government officials denied knowledge of any such abuses. In the earlier matter, Solomzi Mzamo, a matric student, alleged in an affidavit that he was harassed, molested, assaulted and interfered with by Hoza's “unofficial policemen". He said the men were armed with pangas, knobkieries and sjamboks and operated as vigilantes, imposing a 9pm curfew and allegedly assaulting anyone on the streets after that. Hoza’s “policemen” forcibly escorted him to hearings, Mzamo alleged, where he saw fines of up to R157 imposed on offenders and court fees of as much as R200 charged. When he pleaded not guilty to the charge, Tyhali ordered that he be jailed for three days, Mzamo said. The "policemen" were ordered to handcuff him and parade him before the crowd. He was allegedly beaten with a sjambok at the same time. After he was held for about two hours he was taken back before Tyhali who asked him whether he wanted to reconsider his not-guilty plea. Mzamo said he denied being guilty and was warned he would reappear. *The "mayor" of Duncan village, East London, Eddie Makeba is being accused of luring supporters with free liquor, busing residents of Mdantsane in the Ciskei to vote for him and threatening non-supporters. One resident told the Weekly Mail he saw two half empty busses with Makeba’s supporters driving to the polling station.  “A woman who did not look very sober leaned out of the window of the slow moving bus and shouted at the people in the street: "Yizani nizovola utywala bubethwa comment. Biyana denied that his canvassers offered homes to voters. Town manager V Cronje admitted there were cases of duplication on the voters' roll which were corrected by scratching out the names. He attributed such "human errors" to the fact that they do not use computers and everything is done manually. 
  • Mamelodi municipal police have been accused of raiding homes and coercing people to vote. According   to residents, "black jacks" accompanied election agents ' canvassing votes for candidates. If a polite strategy did not work, residents said the municipal police sometimes threatened to evict them. Mamelodi council PRO Veil Mashumi, was not available for comment. Captain R V Bloomberg of the SAP press liaison division in Pretoria said residents claiming coercion should lodge complaints with the police, who would investigate."
  • In Durban, a candidate of the extreme rightwing   Civic   Action League has laid a complaint against his National Party opponent, claiming that the NP candidate had advised voters who opposed him to spell out ngenduku " (Come and vote - there is a lot of liquor). One resident who did not want to be named said Makeba and his friend Benny Biyana came to her house at 5.30 pm and asked her why she had not gone to the polls.   “I protested and told them that I was busy but will go there as soon as I get time. "Makeba did not even want to listen to me but told me to come with them in his car. I took my baby and left my other children in the house and went to the polling station with them in his car. I arrived there and was given the paper which was taken and marked off by Eunice Bewula with her own hand." A Weekly Mail investigation found that only a fraction of the people in some areas were on the roll  - and a number of others appeared twice. For example, only 73 names of shackdwellers are on the roll. Duncan Village has more than a thousand such people. Makeba could not be found for their objections - by writing them on the ballot paper and thus spoiling their vote. Progressive Federal Party regional director Roy Ainslie said he had been asked to take affidavits of allegations that a shopkeeper candidate told people they could not buy from his shop if they did not vote for him. He said he had received complaints that candidates were offering R50 a vote, while others were prepared to barter votes for grocery parcel. The complaints are not all against the candidates: one prospective candidate said she had been phoned by a man who told her there were six "eligible voters" in his household. He and the other five would be very willing to go down to the polls and vote for her  - for R50 a piece. -  Gaye Davis, Thami Mkhwanaza, Si Ngomane and carmel Rickard

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.



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