IEC: Tlokwe allegations 'unfounded'

The IEC says irregularities during the by-elections didn't have an impact on the results.

FILE: The IEC says courts should be careful not to interfere with the autonomy of other branches of government. Picture: Amanda Moore/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says courts should be careful not to interfere with the autonomy of other branches of government.

The IEC made this submission during arguments in the Electoral Court after a group of independent candidates took the body to court over irregularities with the Tlokwe by-elections in 2013.

Independent candidates disputed the IEC's findings that only 1,040 people voted illegally in the polls, saying the number was much higher.

The group wants the court to set the elections aside or appoint a forensic investigation team to look into the election outcome.

The group's legal representative Hans-Jurie Moolman claims case voters were bussed in from other wards in Tlokwe to vote illegally.

"What we are trying to do here is to get the IEC to have more proactive measures in place to prevent these unfair results. There are many cases in front of the Electoral Court, when does it happen?"

The IEC says most of the allegations made by the group of independent candidates are unfounded and that the Electoral Court has no power to order a forensic investigation into the 2013 by-elections.

It says the irregularities during the by-elections didn't have an impact on the results.

Judgment has been reserved.

ANC VS DA, INDEPENDENTS

The African National Congress (ANC) last year beat independent candidate David Kham in Ward 18 and the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Ward 6, but lost Ward 26 to former ANC councillor Butiki 'Stone' Mahlabe who ran independently.

Complaints about the voters' roll and voter district numbers were raised by independent candidates in all three wards.

The DA in Tlokwe said it had evidence of gross misconduct during the polls.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini was also accused of trying to buy votes by handing out food parcels ahead of the elections.

The opposition coalition and the ANC now each control 23 wards in the hotly contested council.

The political battle for control over Tlokwe started when a vote of no-confidence was passed against ANC Mayor Maphetle Maphetle.

He was eventually replaced by the DA's Annette Combrink.