Merafong Ward Committee elections a chaotic sham

11 May 2017

The ANC is thwarting fair electoral practice in Merafong as the municipality does not have an official policy that governs the election of ward committees. The pending ward committee elections are in breach of the Municipal Systems Act, which stipulates that more than seven days’ notice must be given before such elections are held.

I will write to the Gauteng MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Paul Mashatile, to request that his department facilitates the implementation of a policy at Merafong that will govern ward committee elections. I will also log a formal complaint with the IEC in the region.

Worryingly, the Speaker told the DA that he needs to get these elections done as he is under a great deal of pressure from the ANC caucus. This follows the cancellation of the initial round of ward committee elections which were scheduled to take place at the end of February. The previous cancellation was due a lack of funds. The Speaker also previously failed to follow the correct procedure in formally approaching the IEC to handle the election of ward committees, as well as having failed to provide a budget for the IEC to do so.

On Monday, 8 May 2017, The Speaker’s office gave notice to ward Councillors that ward committee elections will take place this coming Sunday, 14 May 2017, less than a week from the date of announcement. To make matters worse, the IEC was completely unaware that these elections were taking place until as late as Tuesday, 9 May 2017.

In many wards, less than 10 nominations were received and Councillors have been told to ‘co-opt’ members. There is also no evidence of public participation as these elections were not advertised at all.

Councillors are expected to manage the logistical arrangements for these elections. This goes against the grain of good practice as ward Councillors should merely observe these elections. It is rather the municipality that is meant to drive the election processes, in a fair and transparent manner.

The ANC is exerting undue influence in these ward committee elections. The extent to which these elections are being manipulated for the sake of party gains is a matter of great concern.

The DA will continue to monitor these elections. We remain committed to the principle of free and fair elections, in the face of a self-serving ANC.

Media Enquiries

Ina Cilliers MPL
DA Merafong Constituency Head
060 556 4344

Anneke Scheepers
DA Gauteng Communications Manager
079 511 7501