ANGRY: The ANC accused DA officials of busing in members to swell their votes. Picture: HERBERT MATIMBA
Derogatory songs by opposing political party supporters led to a clash outside a voting station at Sicelo Township in Midvaal during a by-election yesterday.
The residents accused the DA of busing in people to vote for it in order to win the ward that is regarded as an ANC stronghold. Midvaal is the only municipality in Gauteng governed by the DA.
DA “workers and supporters” were singing in front of the voting station when people wearing ANC T-shirts and carrying ANC flags started singing a song with lyrics that say “Helen Zille Magosha”, which loosely translated means “Helen Zille, you prostitute”
John Moodey, DA leader in Gauteng, had to intervene as the two groups confronted each other.
The DA said it bused in the people to support their members in the ward because there were incidents of intimidation in the lead-up to the by-election.
Two buses brought in residents from nearby areas, which included Finetown, Lakeside, Thulamntwana, Sweetwaters and Wailers Farm. The by-elections were held as a result of an ANC councillor dying in December.
Resident Tshepo Mahlangu said the buses were merely a ruse to distract people because the DA actually used two unmarked cars to transport people to the voting station. “We have seen a number of people we do not know brought in by a silver Quantum and an unregistered Tata sedan,” he said.
He said that they even saw a coloured person they did not know who left soon after he voted. “We know all the coloureds and Indians in our ward and that one is not one of us,” he said.
Nasipha Ludwele said that it was strange that only people from other areas were toyi-toying in the streets and local people were nowhere to be seen.
Dan Manoeli, ANC secretary in the zone, said they first received information that the DA would be busing in people two weeks ago.
“They brought people from Wailers Farm, Sweetwaters and Finetown by bus and they were seen registering at the DA desk. We started suspecting something and yesterday we heard again that they were busing them in to vote,” he said.
Manoeli said they were keeping a close eye at the voting station to see if more people would vote than expected.
“We have also warned the IEC that there should be no power failure at night as was the case when people were voting here last year during the elections,” he said.
Moodey countered that the ANC was scared of the power of the people as it had failed to deliver services to them.
“We bused in our workers and supporters to celebrate democracy, sing and be happy as we do every time we have by-elections,” he said.
Residents of the township also threatened not to accept the outcome of the elections if the DA won. Moodey said that he was not worried about the safety of DA supporters.
IEC spokersperon Kate Bapela said that they would not entertain “hearsay” information about irregular voting. “If any political party has a complaint, they can submit it in writing. They know the rules,” she said.