Various political party observers sit inside the Independent Electoral Commission Results Centre in Pretoria after South Africa’s national and provincial elections on May 8, 2019. (Phill Magakoe, AFP)
Political newcomers taking part in their first elections have criticised the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) for its handling of the voting processes and indicated they would take their grievances to court.
They are also calling for a re-run of the elections.
The parties have also accused the media of sidelining them in favour of the “big three” – the ANC, DA and EFF – and have charged, that in so doing, the media hampered their ability to reach a wider audience.
The list of disgruntled parties include the African Content Movement (ACM), International Revelation Party (IRC), Ecoforum, Christian Political Movement (CPM), Women Forward (WF), Black First Land First (BLF), Land Party, African Transformation Movement (ATM) and the Socialist Revolutionary Party, among others.
The parties held a meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss their objections and grievances.
After the meeting adjourned, they sang “the IEC is taking (us) for granted” in Zulu.
They then held an impromptu media briefing announcing they intended taking the IEC to the Electoral Court.
The parties lamented that the media and the IEC had been unfair to them during the elections.
African Transformation Movement’s Mzwanele Manyi said the so-called smaller parties were also calling for a re-run of the elections.
“We are not convinced that the trajectory that we are on is the trajectory that is going to deliver a free and fair elections. There are a number of issues that have been raised by all of us. All these issues have indeed been put to the attention of the IEC. For us it is a crucial issue … that the ink is a fundamental issue that is undermining the credibility of these elections.
“We are saying with all these double votes that have come to pass, the credibility of these elections is at stake.”
The parties which have also taken offence to being referred by the media as “smaller parties” complained about poor coverage on Wednesday’s election day.
They said the media “de-campaigned” them and accused media outlets, “like the SABC”, of only focusing on the big three parties: the ANC, DA and EFF.
This ensured that their ability to communicate their message to South Africans was limited, they said.
Meanwhile, at least 20 people have been arrested in KwaZulu-Natal in connection with double voting. The IEC said it was running a sample audit to determine how widespread the situation had been on voting day.
Several objections were laid with the IEC over voter irregularities.
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