In the wake of the ANC’s losses at the polls last month, the party’s latest paranoid strategy is to take aim the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the Chapter 9 institution tasked with the crucial role of ensuring our country holds “Free and Fair” Elections.
Reports today reveal that the ruling party has launched an attack on the IEC, with intimidation and name calling being directed towards senior IEC members by the ruling party.
While there still remains an impasse between the ANC and the IEC as the meeting ended with no resolution, the following issues, amongst others, are cause for grave concern.
- IEC vice-chairperson Terry Tselane, has publically stated he had been followed, photographed, and labelled as an “enemy” by some ANC stalwarts both before and after the August 3 polls;
- Senior IEC officials claim that there is a legitimate fear within the IEC that the ANC wants a “less independent IEC at its electoral fortunes decline”;
- ANC slammed the IEC for reducing the number of SADTU members from being electoral offices during the Local Government Elections. This angered the ruling party, as SADTU – the union which is single-handedly holding our education system to ransom – is ANC-aligned.
In light of this, as Leader of the Opposition, I will be requesting a meeting with the senior leadership of the IEC, in order to address these threats, and to map a way forward to ensure the IEC remains independent and protected from malicious political interference.
The ANC’s first real taste of defeat came last month, where the party lost control of several metros across the country. These bullying tactics are a plain attempt to exert more pressure and control over the IEC, and intimidate IEC officials. This must be resisted.
The IEC is crucial to our democracy, and is one of the most sacred Chapter 9 institutions. If the IEC goes, our democracy goes. Therefore, its independence must be safeguarded at all costs.