/ 1 June 2024

MK party says it will reject election outcome without recount

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Supporters of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party gather outside the Ntolwane Primary School voting station on May 29, 2024 in Nkandla, rural KwaZulu-Natal. (Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images)

The Umkhonto we Sizwe party is calling for a recount of the ballots cast in Wednesday’s elections, claiming that the process is being rigged to prevent it from securing an outright majority in KwaZulu-Natal.

The party also wants a recount nationally and in the Western Cape, and has threatened not to accept the outcome of the elections should its concerns not be addressed by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

This despite a number of observer missions which had been on site during the voting process indicating their satisfaction that the elections had been conducted in a free and fair manner.

With 97% of the vote counted and the party standing at 14.82% nationally and at 45.9% in KwaZulu-Natal, the party on Friday night called a media briefing – hours after the deadline for objections had passed – to announce that it would not accept the result unless a recount took place.

While the current projected figure means the MK Party is the largest in the province, taking control away from the ANC, it fails to get the magic 50% plus one of the vote, which would allow it to govern KwaZulu-Natal alone.

The party’s national spokesperson, Nhlamulo Ndhlela, said they had lodged “a number of concerns” with the IEC over “serious transgressions” in the counting process.

Ndhlela said that they had raised the issues with the IEC but that they had not received a “satisfactory response” to their concerns.

Slips compiled by presiding officers were “not in line with what is presented and recorded by party agents”’, Ndhlela said.

“There are fundamental issues regarding their conduct and their processes. There are a lot of discrepancies and we will unpack what those are,” he said. We are not satisfied.”

Ndhlela said that the party was considering approaching the Electoral Court, but was flagging the issue publicly as it wanted to place scrutiny on the counting process.

“It is important to raise this now. We are in a very volatile environment and we cannot afford for the MK party to be associated with anything that comes from that,” Ndhlela said.

“We are urging members not to act in any way that is violent. We will continue to practise peaceful protest, but we are raising these concerns and we are requesting a recount.”

At the time of writing the IEC had not responded to Ndhlela’s comments.

He said that MK Party leader Jacob Zuma was aware of the decision to challenge the counting process and to reject the outcome unless a recount was held.

In the Western Cape, where the DA has taken 53% of the vote and retained its majority, a number of smaller parties have written to the IEC requesting a manual recount of votes cast in the province.

The window for objections closed at 9pm on Friday, with the IEC saying there had been 36 lodged with it by that point.

Build One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane told media at the ROC on Saturday that his party would not be challenging the outcome of the election.

Maimane said it was now time for the parties to deal with the formation of governments and to get to work.

The Good Party’s Brett Heron said they had applied for condonation to submit a late objection over discrepancies between the numbers at the voting districts and those which were eventually displayed by the IEC.