Independent candidates claim Tlokwe by-elections were rigged

Eight independent candidates from North West's Tlokwe municipality have alleged in court papers that hundreds, if not thousands, of voters in the by-elections in the area were not legitimate, City Press reported on Sunday.

The electoral court in Bloemfontein is due next month to hear a court application by the independent candidates to have the election result set aside and an independent investigation to be conducted.

The newspaper reported that court papers submitted by the independent candidates allege that at least 500 voters were registered at addresses outside the ward areas and at least 600 had provided false or incomplete addresses on voter registration forms.

Other allegations include that 31 people from other areas were re-registered in the contested wards and transported to the Tlokwe area to vote in the elections.

In responding papers, the Independent Electoral Commission's chief electoral officer Mosoto Moepya said "no evidential material has been brought before the court in support of the allegations."

The ANC retained six wards in by-elections which took place in the highly contested region in December last year.

Political engagement in the area has been heated after 14 ANC councillors were expelled from the party last July for participating in a motion of no confidence in the ANC's mayor Maphetle Maphetle. He was replaced as mayor by the DA's Annette Combrink.

The ANC's national disciplinary committee subsequently overturned the expulsions, but nominated other candidates for the by-elections. Some of the former councillors decided to stand as independents. –Sapa

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