Community members who allow themselves to be bussed into areas where they do not legally reside for municipal by-elections will face prosecution for voter fraud.
This is a stern warning issued by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube, during the visit to Nquthu municipality where she inspected the state of preparedness for upcoming by-elections in May.
Dube-Ncube’s pronouncements comes against the Electoral Court decision last to postpone a by-election in ward 7 of Phongolo local municipality where there were discrepancies in the voters’ roll involving voters who did not legally reside in the ward.
“Voter fraud is a criminal offence and we will not tolerate it. Voters are now required by law to furnish an identifiable residential address to the IEC upon their registration to vote. All instances of tampering with the voters’ roll and bussing voters into areas where they do not legally reside will from now on result in criminal prosecution. The legitimacy of our democratic institutions hinges on free and fair elections,” said Dube-Ncube.
It is inconceivable to accept that those community members whose name are found illegally on the voters roll in wards where they do not reside are not willing participants. Our legal system should demand answers from individuals whose names are illegally on the voters roll and they will have to explain how it all happen, said Dube-Ncube.
“It is the community that are the custodian of our Constitution and they must lead from the front in exposing fraudsters who are masterminds behind the expensive expeditions to steal the elections through illegal means” Dube-Ncube added.
Dube-Ncube who was accompanied by Members of the Provincial Legislature include Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu and Jomo Sibiya, today visited Nquthu where she inspected the state of preparedness for the upcoming by-elections.
Nquthu local municipality was formally dissolved by the provincial executive following a protracted stalemate when the political parties elected in the August 2016 local government elections repeatedly failed to elect municipal office bearers.
Dube-Ncube who engaged with various communities under the trees and in open fields, expressed satisfaction with the preparations and the palpable excitement by the communities to participate in the upcoming elections,
“This is an opportunity for the community to elect leaders who will put their interest first and to correct the past mistakes”
She also expressed satisfaction with the progress made in electrifying most of the ward in Nquthu.
“We are determined to see free and fair by-elections at Nquthu that will allow this municipality to be properly reconstituted to serve its residents as the constitution of the country requires. This means that only those eligible voters who legally reside in Nquthu will be allowed to vote in the upcoming by-elections,” said Dube-Ncube.