Municipal poll: runners-up remain optimistic

Al Jama-Ah leader Ganief Hendricks

By Wesley Ford

As the election dust settles, some losing candidates have complained about voting irregularities and campaigning difficulties.

Ganief Hendricks, the leader of Al-Jama-ah, says it was challenging campaigning during a pandemic.

“We had fund-raising by the candidates who sold koeksisters on Sundays and sold goods at stalls in parks.”

He says many young people and those who registered for the first time found that their names were not on the voters roll, and polling stations were changed, with voters being sent to other stations after a long wait.

“We will call on the national IEC (the Electoral Commission of South Africa) to investigate these concerns and address these issues as they are many,” he says.

As for the party’s performance, he remains optimistic. Al-Jama-ah ran in 115 wards in the metro, and made strides in several southern suburbs. The party polled 3.67% in Ward 57, up from 1.69% in 2016. In Ward 60 it improved to 7% compared to 6.07% in 2016 and in Ward 115 it polled 3.53%, up from 1.5% in 2016.

Overall, the party saw a 40% improvements in its results, Mr Hendricks says. “Our votes increased from 17000 to 25000 in spite of low voter turnout as well as many irregularities and concerns that stemmed from and arose from the relevant elections.”

Ward 57 independent candidate Kirsten Poking.

Kirsten Poking, from Observatory, who ran as an independent candidate in Ward 57 and took 2.31% of the votes, says the experience was challenging, exciting and revealing and according to her it “highlighted the shortcomings in the IEC and how they share information before, during and after – especially with independents”.

Ms Poking says campaigning was tough because no one knew who she was.

“With no party resources and recognition, you engage in every media opportunity possible.You have to run a tight campaign with succinct talking points and a clear, short manifesto.”

She used her own savings as well as donations from family, friends and her campaign manager to fund her run for the councillor’s seat.

She accepts the election results but says it’s perplexing that people who say they want change continue to vote for the same party.

“How can we want change but not show it by changing who we vote for?”

Youssef Kanouni ran in wards 57 and 115 for the National Freedom Party.

Former Woodstock Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairman Youssef Kanouni ran in wards 57 and 115 for the National Freedom Party (NFP) but polled only 0.5% in both.

He says the poor performance is due to the fact that the party is not well known in Cape Town and has more of a following in KwaZulu-Natal.

He says he was on the campaign trail since April and financial support for the party came from private citizens, businesses and activists.

He claims the IEC treated smaller parties unfairly and wants clarity on reports that voters were sent to different polling stations on election day. However, the party has not lodged an official complaint with the IEC.

Credible Alternative 1st Movement mayoral candidate Rod Solomons.

The Credible Alternative 1st Movement (CA1st), contesting its first local government election, took only 0.14% of the vote across the metro and in wards 115, 57 and 58 it polled 0.7%, 0.43% and 0.49% respectively.

Advocate Rod Solomons, the party’s mayoral candidate, says private donors supported the party with “small amounts” and some of the candidates funded the campaigning from their own pockets.

He claims there were irregularities with the way votes were counted and he wants a rerun of the elections. He also alleges that his posters were defaced.

“We need to ask for a rerun because people have been disenfranchised,” he says.

IEC provincial spokesperson Trevor Davids says political parties have an opportunity to follow the legal route with written objections according to Section 65 of the Electoral Act. Mr Davids says the parties can also petition the Electoral Court.

The Tatler posed questions to the IEC about alleged electoral misconduct, but it did not answer any of those questions by time of publication.