/ 16 June 2024

African Transformation Movement challenges election results and demands a rerun

Vuyo Zungula
ATM president, Vuyo Zungula. (@ATMovement_SA/Twitter)

Like the uMkhonto weSizwe party, the African Transformation Movement (ATM) has filed an application with the electoral court challenging the outcome of the May elections and demanding a rerun of the vote.

In the party’s founding affidavit, ATM leader Vuyo Zungula argues that it has been “the victim of miscalculations, vote rigging and voter corruption”.

Zungula said most of the ATM’s supporters could not cast their ballots and the problems that prevented them from doing so were so fundamental that it suggested the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) – the first respondent – was not capable of conducting free and fair elections.

“It was surprising and shocking for ATM to learn that most of its voters could not vote, in a manner that deprived them of their right to vote, the reason was their non appearance on the voters roll, despite being registered,” he said.

Some found that their names were not on the roll in the voting district where they registered but in another.

“Very few managed to be transported to the voting districts where it is alleged their names appeared,” he added.

Zungula said the same problem plagued the 2019 national elections, and his party had reasonably hoped that the IEC would have resolved it in the interim. Instead, he said, it recurred and together with other material irregularities suggested the commission was not capable of conducting free and fair elections.

Zungula further argued that widely-reported problems with electronic scanners at polling stations made it impossible to prevent “double voting”, and submitted that this was contrived by the commission to allow it to manipulate the election results and “steal” the ATM’s votes.

“If this court weighs in all aspects complained of, the voters roll inconsistencies, the irregular vote counting, the acts of misconduct by commission employers [sic], all point to vote rigging and vote corruption, coupled with manipulation of results to advantage one of more political parties.”

He said the commission’s failings meant that the country now faced a constitutional crisis.

“It is evident that the 2024 NPE [national and provincial elections] were not free and fair,” Zungula said.

“That is compelling reason, sufficient enough for the court to set aside the 2024 NPE results and order the re-run of the elections.”

The court would be well advised to order that the commission be reconstituted before the election is held afresh, he added.

“Confidence to the commission has to be restored as a chapter 9 institution, hence in the rerun the court is asked to direct on how they should be condoned [sic] to avoid further damage to the credibility of the commission.”

Zungula’s affidavit was signed and filed to court last Thursday, on the eve of the swearing in of elected MPs and the election of the president, speaker and deputy speaker by the National Assembly.

Unlike the MK party, the ATM’s two elected MPs attended the sitting and were sworn in as members of the chamber.

The ATM is part of a loose alliance of leftist parties, including the Economic Freedom Fighters and United Democratic Movement, that was left out in the cold while the Democratic Alliance and Inkatha Freedom Party inked an agreement with the ANC to form a coalition government.

This grouping, which now calls itself the “progressive caucus”, has for a while formed a voting bloc in parliament.

On Friday, it nominated Zungula for the position of deputy speaker, but he lost by a wide margin to the DA’s Annelie Lotriet, the consensus candidate of the parties in the future governing alliance.

In its application to the electoral court, the MK party argued that the vote had been rigged and that, had this not been the case, it would “in all likelihood” have won the elections with a clear majority”. 

Therefore, it said Friday’s swearing in of MPs and their election of President Cyril Ramaphosa for another term was null and void.

“Evidence of vote rigging, fraud and manipulation vitiates the entire process of setting up the National Assembly in terms of section 46 of the Constitution.”