Bobby Stevenson MPL
DA Deputy provincial leader, Eastern Cape
The Democratic Alliance has today laid a complaint with the provincial Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) against the ANC for a violation of the code of conduct for elections. This code was signed for the ward 40 by-election on 28 July 2014 by all parties. For the letter, click here.
The DA was prevented by the ANC from holding a public meeting in the Kuyga Community Hall on Sunday, 3 August. This was not some innocent mistake by the ANC or mix-up of bookings but a deliberate attempt to sabotage our meeting. The Zanufication of our politics cannot be tolerated in the Nelson Mandela Metro in this by-election or going forward to 2016.
This all has severe consequences for free and fair elections in the current by-election and for future elections.
When parties are prevented from freely campaigning or holding public meetings in the hall of their choice, real democracy is at stake. This is why the DA views this matter in a very serious light.
The real test of our democracy is how political parties behave when they face the real prospect of losing power in a municipality. The ANC now only has 48% of the votes in this metro and faces the real prospect of losing power. Fear and panic has set in and their true colours are being revealed.
In the light of this incident we expect further underhand tactics from the ANC and ANC-aligned supporters in this by-election.
The DA validly booked the Kuyga Community Hall for Sunday, 3 August 2014 for a meeting with DA Leaders Helen Zille and Athol Trollip. The ANC occupied the hall and refused to leave, even when they were informed by the South African Police Service (SAPS) that the municipality had confirmed with the SAPS ours was the only valid booking. We also confirmed with the person responsible for all community halls that ours was the only valid booking. The ANC could produce no proof that they had booked the hall. The SAPS, although agreeing that ours was the valid booking, declined to intervene further. This is indeed a disgrace.
The IEC is mandated by the constitution to ensure elections are free and fair. This is a real test case for them to ensure how free and fair elections will be upheld in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in this by-election and going forward. Unless this grossly unacceptable conduct is stopped in its tracks democracy will be on the skids in Nelson Mandela Bay.