National

IFP concedes to holding ANC, IEC members hostage

Sapa

The IFP says its supporters held election officials and ANC members hostage after apparently seeing ballot boxes being loaded into a strange car.

The IFP says its supporters held election officials and ANC members hostage in Alexandra. (M&G)

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters held election officials and ANC members hostage in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, on Thursday, the party said.

IFP secretary general Sbongile Nkomo said ballot boxes at the Women for Peace voting station were apparently loaded into a strange car. This led to IFP members holding election officials and ANC members hostage

“The matter was resolved and there is peace and calm in Alexandra,” Nkomo said. She said the IFP would file an objection with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on the matter. Nkomo added that the IFP was satisfied with the votes it had accumulated so far. 

Earlier on Thursday, ANC spokesperson Nkenke Kekana said about 20 party agents were held hostage. “They held ANC party agents hostage for five hours ... leadership of both parties intervened and resolved the matter. “Those who were held hostage have the right to lay charges if they choose to do so.” 

Kekana said about 100 IFP members arrived at the voting station carrying knobkerries. Provincial IEC spokesperson Masego Shiburi could not be reached for comment at the time. 

Kekana told the Star newspaper that “ANC party agents were held hostage from 3am, threatened with their lives”. 

SABC radio news reported at 2pm that the ANC members had been released by IFP officials. The SABC said the IFP claimed its party agents saw ballot boxes in a marked ANC vehicle, which sparked the incident. Police spokesperson Brigadier Neville Malila told the South African Press Association at the time that there had been no hostage situation, and that it was an “IEC-related matter”. 

The provincial IEC was not immediately available for comment. – Sapa

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