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Political battle for Tlokwe continues

The ANC, DA and independent candidates square off in crucial by-elections.

People arrive at the Tshupane primary school polling station in Tlokwe to vote. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

TLOKWE - Police are maintaining a heavy presence in Tlokwe, North West this morning as the ANC, DA and independent candidates square off in crucial by-elections.

The political battle for control over the Tlokwe municipality continues after the DA's Annette Combrink took over earlier this year following a vote of no confidence in the ANC's Maphetle Maphetle.

Elections will only be held in three wards today after the electoral court postponed the vote in six other wards last night.

ANC volunteers and buses carrying voters arrived shortly after the polls opened and were followed by more taxis carrying supporters of independent candidate and former ANC councillor, Stone Mahlabe.

Mahlabe will be running against the ruling party's Oupa Mogoshane.

Smaller opposition parties will also contest the polls in three wards, but it's expected to be a close race between the ruling party and Mahlabe.

Mahlabe enjoys much support in this area and his team appears confident he'll emerge victorious.

But the ruling party has expressed the same sentiment and says it's prepared to win.

Voting is expected to last until late into the night and results should be released shortly after.

Earlier in August, the ANC retained control of ward nine in the municipality's by-elections.

IEC'S INDEPENDENCE QUESTIONED

Meanwhile, questions are being raised about the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)'s independence after yesterday's ruling by the electoral court.

The DA has called on the IEC to focus on restoring its credibility in the North West claiming that just yesterday, IEC officials observed how voters were being bribed after casting their votes for the ANC.

The DA's Chris Hattingh said the IEC's independence is of serious concern.

"The IEC should grasp this opportunity to clear its name and re-establish its independence.

But the ANC's spokesperson in the North West, Kenny Morolong, has refuted what he referred to as "wild allegations" of party officials bribing voters with food parcels.

The ANC has also called for a full investigation into the conduct of an IEC official concerning the registration of candidates.

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