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Court postpones Matatiele demarcation decision

The political party formed to keep Matatiele in KwaZulu-Natal, the African Independent Congress (AIC), says it is disappointed in the Constitutional Court’s decision not to make a ruling on the demarcation issue before polling day on Wednesday.

Cedrick Canham, a former Matatiele mayor and a leading figure in the AIC, was responding to Monday’s court ruling that the election will go ahead as planned in the municipality and that the judges will reconsider the issue at the end of March.

”We are going to be disappointed as the people of Matatiele, because we placed a lot of faith in our endeavours to get the Constitutional Court to make a ruling before the elections so that we know exactly where we stand,” Canham said.

”What I have to do now is get hold of the leadership and then discuss this issue with them, and plot a possible way forward.”

He said further court action — the AIC has threatened to seek a high court interdict to stop the polls — ”definitely is a possibility”.

He said the court ruling makes one question whether the court is there to protect the interest of the people, or those of the government.

”It is the highest court in the country and as citizens we are obliged to respect its decision. But at the same time, we also as citizens expect that the Constitutional Court will take a decision that is not biased to government or to any other party, that it will take a decision that is in the interests of the people who made the application, and that is the people of Matatiele.

”The whole strategy, the way we see it at this juncture, is quite simply this: leave them in the Eastern Cape, at the end of March we go through this whole circus again — I have to call it a circus because we’ve wasted time and money and effort here — … and we’re going to be obliged to do the same in March.

”And then what is going to be the decision? ‘Oh! But you are functioning within the [new] municipality, so what is the problem?’ And that is the problem that we have.”

Canham said the AIC, which on Monday was training party agents for polling day, will fight the election with all its energy if it does go ahead.

The AIC has ”overwhelming” support in the area ”and because of that we cannot let the people down”.

The African National Congress on the other hand welcomed the ruling and said it is more than ready for election day.

”We are very, very happy that we are to be allowed to vote,” said election organiser Vincent Lepheana, who is also ANC chairperson in the Alfred Nzo region, the district municipality that Matatiele will fall under when the redemarcation comes into effect.

”As ANC we value the basic right of making a vote because it is the mother of all other rights, freedom of speech, freedom of association, free thinking,” he said. ”We have got to make sure all people go out of their houses and vote.”

Lepheana said even a delayed vote would not have been desirable because it would have disrupted delivery.

The ANC is prepared to wait for the final ruling on the matter.

”We should give it respect; we should be patient with it,” he said. — Sapa

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