Tight security for Imbabazane bi- election as rivals square up

POLICE and other security agencies from outside Imbabazane in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands would be deployed a week before a bi-election in the area to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

This was announced by Independent Electoral Commission provincial officer Mawethu Mosery in Durban yesterday. He also announced that another five bi-elections would be held in the province next month.

He said of the six bi-elections, the one in Imbabazane would be closely monitored as it is expected to be fiercely contested by both the ANC and IFP.

Mosery said this comes after a ruling by the Electoral Court in July when the results of a previous election were nullified. The IFP had won the bi-election but the ANC went to court citing clashes between the two parties as having disadvantaged it.

"After the March 4 by-election in ward 3, which was won by the IFP, the ANC lodged a formal objection with the IEC. Subsequently, the Electoral Court, in terms of Section 65 of the Local Government Municipal Electoral Act of 2000, found that the election was not free and fair," Mosery said.

He said in implementing the Electoral Court's decision to nullify the by-election, the IEC will hold fresh elections on October 14. About 4000 voters are expected to vote in five stations.

"The IEC has held several meetings with the Party Liaison Committee in the area to prepare for the upcoming by-elections. At the meetings it was agreed that, for security reasons, police from outside Imbabazane will be deployed earlier than election day.

"The IEC is in contact with the security establishment in the province to facilitate the deployment," he said.

Mosery said as part of the IEC's stiffer security measures, it was agreed that the tables that are normally placed outside the voting station will be removed at 19h00 to avoid the commotion and disruptions that normally takes place there.

He said further consultation is taking place with regards to agreeing on the closing time of the voting station on election day. He said this was likely to be 17h00.

Mawethu announced that all the wards that will hold by-elections will have a registration weekend this coming weekend except for Newcastle which had already had its registration weekend.