KZN by-election result declared invalid

The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal was on Wednesday celebrating after the Electoral Court ruled in its favour by declaring the results of a by-election in the province’s Imbabazane area invalid.

“The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has great pleasure in announcing today that its legal court challenge regarding the violence-ridden by-election in Imbabazane has been successful,” said ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala.

The ruling was confirmed by Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) provincial spokesperson, Thabani Ngwira, who said the commission’s KwaZulu-Natal chief electoral officer, Mawethu Mosery, was studying the judgment.

“Mr Mosery is on leave. He has been given the copy of the ruling. He will comment immediately after has finished reading it,” he said.

Zikalala described the ruling, handed down in Bloemfontein on Tuesday, as “legal history”.

He said they felt vindicated by the judgment, and they believed the ANC could have retained the ward, which was won by the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), if there had been no intimidation during the March by-election.

“The ANC lodged a formal objection with the Independent Electoral Commission and subsequently the Electoral Court of South Africa to set aside the outcome of the by-elections held in Imbabazane in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.”

He said they had requested that the election results be nullified in terms of section 65 of the Local Government Municipal Electoral Act of 2000 on the basis that the elections were “not free and fair”.

“In the lead-up to, during and after the by-election there were unprecedented levels of violence and intimidation directed at ANC members and the people of Imbabazane.”

Zikalala said the IFP had violated “every rule of the Electoral Code of Conduct to prevent scores of community members from voting.

“The by-election was marred by incidents of intimidation, abusive and threatening language, malicious damage to property, stoning of an SAPS [SA Police Service] vehicle and grievous bodily harm,” he said.

He said a member of the provincial legislature, Winile Zondi, was also attacked with a knobkierrie on the day of the by-election.

Zikalala said IFP members had blockaded the gates of voting stations on election day. He urged the IEC to take disciplinary action against any party which undermined electoral rules.

The IFP was not immediately available to comment.—Sapa

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