In a startling revelation, the President of the United Democratic Movement Bantu Holomisa, has written a letter of concern to chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) alleging that the ruling party, ANC, is interfering with the job of the IEC and harassing IEC commissioners like Terry Tselane. Here follows the letter:
Mr Glen V Mashinini
Chairperson of the Electoral Commission
Dear Mr Mashinini
REQUEST FOR AN URGENT MEETING OF THE LEADERS OF ALL POLITICAL PARTIES REPRESENTED IN PARLIAMENT
The above matter has reference.
It has come to my attention that the African National Congress (ANC) has declared the Deputy Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), Mr Terry Tselane, an enemy.
It is alleged that, at the IEC National Results Centre (in Pretoria) for the 2016 Municipal Elections, the Secretary General of the ANC, Mr Gwede Mantashe and his deputy Ms Jessie Duarte, in the presence of the State President (who is also the ANC’s President) caused a stir by confronting Mr Tselane and, amongst others, alleging that he:
1. Was an enemy of the ANC;
2. Was conniving with the opposition parties against the ANC;
3. Had single-handedly removed teachers as IEC electoral officers during the 2016 Municipal Elections in order to benefit opposition parties; and that
4. His behaviour has benefitted the opposition parties.
These are serious allegations, considering that it was made against a member of the Electoral Commission.
It is interesting to note that Mr Mantashe seems to be confirming that the appointment of teachers as electoral officers, is designed to disadvantage opposition parties and unduly benefit the ANC. Such an admission vindicates the view always held by opposition parties with regard to the ‘exclusive’ appointment of teachers as electoral officers.
Many of these teachers, if not all, are members of a Cosatu affiliated teachers’ union, Sadtu. Cosatu is in alliance with the ANC and has always taken a firm decision to support the ANC in every election that has taken place since the advent of democracy in South Africa; its decisions binds Sadtu and its members.
These allegations place a grey cloud over other Electoral Commissioners. It will not be far-fetched to question whether their loyalties are with the country, its citizens and the Constitution or with the ANC. This is important, because from these allegations, it is clear, that any Electoral Commissioner who does not sweeten the ANC will be regarded as an enemy and will be dealt with accordingly.
These developments may necessitate that the current composition of the Electoral Commission be urgently scrutinised to ascertain whether they are all in the service of the nation or in the service of a political party.
I am also made to believe that the ANC has begun to question Accenture, a company that has been contracted and worked with IEC to provide technical solutions for a stable technical environment to support elections processes.
In my recollection, the credibility of this company has never been questioned by the ANC and it is interesting that it is only now emerging after the elections results that have shocked the ruling party. It begs a serious question; why does the ruling party now have an issue with Accenture and why was this matter never tabled at the appropriate body i.e. the National Party Liaison Committee.
I am also aware that the ANC is allegedly considering to alter the current party representation on the IEC’s Party Liaison Committees in favour of proportional representation. We wish to obtain a detailed understanding of this development and its rationale.
The alleged meeting that took place on Monday, 19 September 2016, at Luthuli House, which was attended by some of the ANC ‘top six’ and Electoral Commissioner, is of serious concern. It is further disturbing that it is alleged that some of the issues raised above were discussed in the said clandestine meeting.
Accordingly, I request that you convene an urgent meeting of all the leaders of parties represented in the South African Parliament to consider, amongst others, the matters raised above.
I hope this will be attended to urgently.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
President of the United Democratic Movement