The IEC in the Western Cape confirmed that it had received an official complaint from the EFF in relation to intimidation in the Witzenberg municipality.
The EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) has laid a formal complaint with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), citing intimidation at the hands of Western Cape farmers.
The controversial red berets have gone a step further and laid criminal charges against a farmer in the Witzenberg municipality. Godrich Gardee, Secretary General of the EFF, alleges that they were denied access to farm workers and in the process fell victim to intimidation tactics employed by a private security company.
EFF on the campaign trail in the Western Cape
The EFF has begun to intensify their campaign to garner votes ahead of the 2019 General Elections. While on the campaign trail in the Western Cape, it’s alleged that the party faced fierce resistance from local farmers who prevented campaigners from accessing their properties.
Gardee claims that EFF members were targeted while campaigning in the Witzenberg municipality located in the Cape Winelands District. It’s alleged that privately hired security officers unleashed dogs on EFF members and threatened the campaigners with guns.
The Witzenberg municipality is due for a by-election next week.
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Gardee explained that this action implemented by farmers was in direct contravention of Electoral Act 73 of 1998, which grants political parties the right to access farmlands and workers for the purpose of campaigning. The Secretary General has called for the arrest of the farm owner, saying:
“A criminal case has been opened by the EFF against Gys Du Toit and security companies who unleashed dogs and guns intimidating us and refusing EFF access to voters.
IEC [and] SAPS can now act without fear or favour for flouting of Electoral Act 73 of 1998 & its Regulations … History being made arresting a farm owner acting criminally & unconstitutionally. Let’s Go Minister Cele!”
IEC warns farmers of criminal prosecutions
The IEC in the Western Cape confirmed that it had received an official complaint from the EFF in relation to intimidation in the Witzenberg municipality. The IEC also confirmed that farmers who denied political parties members access to their properties were, in fact, committing a criminal offence.
Courtney Sampson, IEC Provincial Electoral Officer, reiterated that halting a political campaign was unconstitutional, saying:
“If a farmer is a member of Agri Wes-Kaap we’ll speak to them and usually they help resolve the issues. If this farmer is just simply for whatever reason saying you may not come to our farm – that’s against the law.
People who live on farms have the right to political participation.”
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