KwaZulu vote declared 'fair' by commission

AFRICAN National Congress supporters were stunned and confused by the Independent Electoral Commission's decision yesterday to declare last week's election in KwaZulu/

Natal province free and fair, despite charges by IEC monitors of widespread rigging by the Inkatha Freedom Party.

'Most of our supporters are worried and confused,' said Zipho Mkhize, an ANC spokesman in the northern Natal city of Empangeni. 'They are scared because they know what the attitude of the KwaZulu (homeland) government was towards anyone who was seen as ANC.'

Several ANC officials in the region said they believed their leadership had accepted the disputed results, which gave Inkatha control of the provincial assembly by a 50.3 per cent to 32.2 per cent margin over the ANC, in the interests of maintaining peace. In the past 10 years, a desultory civil war between Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha and the ANC has claimed 10,000 lives. The outgoing president, F W de Klerk, imposed a state of emergency in the region on 31 March in an attempt to halt the slaughter.

'In terms of violence, allowing Inkatha to control Natal might be better,' said Sam Nxumalo, an ANC official in Eshowe. 'It is easier to control the ANC followers, especially since we have won nationally. If the situation was reversed and the ANC won the province, there would have been chaos.'

The premier-elect for KwaZulu/Natal, Inkatha's Frank Mdlalose, suggested on Thursday that a new election should be held soon because of allegations of fraud and the IEC's mismanagement of the polls.

Chief Buthelezi said he accepted the poll results 'in the interests of reconciliation as sufficiently fair and free to enable us to move forward' and urged the ANC-led government to work with Inkatha to resolve 'the many difficulties that lie ahead'.

An IEC official in Durban said he believed the decision to ratify the poll results was a compromise between the ANC and Inkatha to let the charges of vote rigging by both sides cancel each other out. He said both sides committed fraud, but that the ANC's 'propaganda wing is much more effective at getting the information out'.

Internal IEC documents, however, painted a different picture - one in which Inkatha was able to stuff ballot boxes, mount flying voting stations using minibuses and have its officials appointed as presiding officers who used their positions at voting stations to encourage, and sometimes force, voters to cast their ballots for the IFP.

Most of the voting stations in KwaZulu were staffed by Inkatha officials or employees of the former homeland government. Christa Claussen- Williams, the district electoral officer for Mahlabatini, which included the former homeland capital, Ulundi, was a senior public relations official of the KwaZulu government.

In Eshowe, the local pro- Inkatha chief, B I Zulu, his brother, IFP member Maurice Mackenzie, and KwaZulu government deputy minister Prince Gideon Zulu were alleged to have run a convoy of roving voter stations using minibuses with no monitors from the IEC, the ANC or any other political party.

A confidential IEC report argued that voting north of the Tugela river in the Inkatha stronghold should be declared null and void due to 'factual evidence' of rampant fraud. In some areas voter turnout was 215 per cent, and in Mahlabatini the number of ballots was 385 per cent of the expected vote.

'The thing we must all focus on now is reconciliation, rather than worrying about the past,' said Mr Mkhize in Empangeni.

However some analysts believe the IEC's decision will worsen the violence. 'The violence will certainly flare, and if it does it will be the responsibility of those who took this decision which is based on fraud on a huge scale,' said Mary de Haas of the University of Natal, who has been monitoring the conflict.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all