Tlokwe candidates were biased, says Electoral Court

The Electoral Court said this week that the independent candidates barred from taking part in the Tlokwe's by-elections were severely biased.

The court was making known its reasons for handing down an order postponing the by-elections in five Tlokwe wards on September 17, on Wednesday.

Due to the urgency of the matter, which was heard a day before the by-elections of September 18, the court issued only an order and indicated it would supply reasons later.

The court ordered that the by-elections in five wards – one, four, 11, 12 and 20 – be postponed.

It instructed the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to investigate the conduct of suspended Potchefstroom electoral officer John Makodi.

It further held that former ANC candidates Aaron Mhlope, Johanna Xaba, Ntombi Dikupe, Catherine Molefe, and James Zicina, standing as independents, be allowed to register in their wards for the postponed by-elections.

Giving its reasons for the decision, the Electoral Court held that the IEC had failed to facilitate the participation of the candidates in the by-elections.

This would have resulted in the elections not being free and fair.

Makodi's conduct in not properly helping the candidates, in compliance with the Municipal Electoral Act, also severely prejudiced them.

For this reason the IEC's disqualification of the candidates was reviewed and set aside.

The court said the IEC had a duty not only to act as a verifying agent regarding strict compliance with legislation, but also had a duty to help voters and candidates obtain sufficient knowledge of the electoral process.

"It should promote a culture of helpfulness to all involved in elections; it should display willingness to assist those members of the public who wish to participate in elections, such assistance not being restricted to voters alone, but also to candidates," the court found.

It held that the IEC should develop a system to verify compliance with legislation when candidates submitted documents, and to help prospective candidates comply with the requirements.

The court found that the IEC's independence and impartiality would be strengthened if it effectively responded to issues and helped candidates participate in elections. – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Guest Author

Related stories

The pandemic will change the electoral process

There’s a backlog of by-elections to get through before next year’s local government elections. Will voters go to the polls even though Covid protocols are in place?

ANC starts up its engine for 2021 race

The party seems to have abandoned plans to delay municipal polls as branches shift to election mode

IEC ready for elections despite budget and Covid setbacks

The Electoral Commission of South Africa said next year's local government elections will go ahead despite the pandemic as it has plans in place to keep employees and voters safe

IEC deregisters BLF, upholds ATM’s status

The electoral commission has stripped Black First Land First of its status as a political party, but rejected an appeal against the ATM

IEC rejects court threat from small parties

The IEC has written to the lawyers of the 27 smaller parties who reported election irregularities, saying their demands were unreasonable and unlawful

IEC intent on announcing final results on Saturday

The Mail & Guardian understands parties are set to receive a presentation on an audit over double votes on Saturday

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

It’s not a ‘second wave’: Covid resurges because safety measures...

A simple model shows how complacency in South Africa will cause the number of infections to go on an upward trend again

Trouble brewing for Kenya’s coffee growers

Kenyan farmers say theft of their crop is endemic – and they suspect collusion

Unisa shortlists two candidates for the vice-chancellor job

The outgoing vice-chancellor’s term has been extended to April to allow for a smooth hand-over

How US foreign policy under Donald Trump has affected Africa

Lesotho has been used as a microcosm in this article to reflect how the foreign policy has affected Africa

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday