Claims of intimidation in Tlokwe

Claims of voter intimidation forced the cordoning off on Wednesday of certain sections of Ward Nine, Tlokwe, North West, where by-elections were taking place.

“There have been complaints of [parties] interfering with voters,” presiding officer Modisaotsile Makodi said as he put up Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) tape outside the polling station at the Boikhotso Secondary School in Ikageng, Potchefstroom

“I’m going to go stand on the corner with the police to say they must not touch my voters.”

Makodi said he had a meeting with the provincial liaison committee, made up of members from each party, to discuss the issue.

Political parties were told to stand behind the tape and not interfere with voters.

Juanita Terblanche, Democratic Alliance constituency leader, said a scuffle started when the African National Congress allegedly forced voters to go to its table and not interact with other parties.

“That is intimidation of voters. We asked the presiding officer to come check the situation and make it fair for everyone else,” she said.

Congress of the People member Andrew Radebe claimed that the ANC was escorting voters from the bottom of the road to the gate and telling them to vote for the party.

“They are afraid that they are going to lose which is why they doing this,” he said.

“They also brought their NEC [national executive committee] members to gather more voters.”

The DA, Cope and the independent candidate sat on one side of the parking lot, while the ANC stood on the opposite side.

There was a heavy police presence outside the school gates.

ANC national election organiser Thembeni Nxangisa denied claims of intimidation.

He said the ANC had ferried the voters from their homes. Along the way, they had agreed that their names would be checked at the ANC table.

“We were not intimidating anyone. The only thing that arose was that we were close to the gate [of the school] and the IEC told us to move,” he said.

Emotions ran high as members from rival political parties shouted at each other.

Some ANC members said the DA was using “Tsvangirai tactics” and they would defeat them despite those tactics.

Another member shouted: “We will meet in the streets”.



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