The ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay was considering its legal options on Wednesday after DA leader Mmusi Maimane was accused by a local ANC councillor candidate of canvassing inside a voting station. The candidate, Nelly Oosthuizen, who was at the station told The Citizen that she believed the opposition leader’s actions were illegal.
“As far as I can see, they (Maimane and Athol Trollip) were canvassing inside there. He is not a candidate in the ward and he is not a voter here. Canvassing time is over.”
Maimane made appearances at several voting stations in the highly contested metro, including a Catholic church in Gelvindale, where he was said to have stayed for more than an hour inside the voting station greeting voters. But some of the ANC volunteers outside the station told The Citizen that he was doing more than just a meet and greet. The ANC in the metro said it had received reports from party officials that he was encouraging people to vote for the DA. Regional task team coordinator for the ANC Beza Ntshona said the party was investigating the matter.
“We are gathering reports and information from the various wards because we have received several reports that the DA has been canvassing at the voting stations. Thereafter we will consult with our legal team on the next step.”
According to the Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000, MPLC members are allowed to observe elections, however, Oosthuizen was not aware of the rule and was later informed by a colleague that the DA did not overstep any boundary in terms of the Electoral Act.
Maimane brushed off the allegations, saying the ANC was being desperate.
“If they have a complaint, let them lay it. I can’t really comment on nonsense,” he said. “All these tactics and all this desperation by our opponents shows that they can feel the pressure.”
Trollip, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Maimane visited a number of voting stations in Nelson Mandela Bay, the metro that they unequivocally believe they will win today. Though recent polling company Ipsos has been criticised for overestimating the DA support in the region, with their latest poll finding the party taking a 44% lead today, Trollip has said that the party’s own poll results were not far from those of Ipsos.
The IEC was not available for comment on the allegations against Maimane.