PRETORIA — South Africa’s ruling party stalwarts will launch a campaign urging voters to shun the African National Congress in upcoming polls in protest at rampant corruption in government, media reported yesterday.
Ronnie Kasrils a former intelligence minister and other anti-apartheid struggle veterans will today launch a ‘No Vote’ campaign to encourage South Africans not to cast their ballots for the African National Congress (ANC) or simply spoil their ballots on election day.
“Given the state of politics in South Africa today, with a lot of people feeling they are just so fed up . . . , we are saying at least go and you can spoil that ballot paper,” he told the independent eNCA news channel.
“It is like toyi-toying on paper,” he said referring to the dance usually performed at protest gatherings or marches.
“You spoil that ballot paper, it does say something,” he said.
He told the public broadcaster that his proposed campaign is like “hard love, love can be hard . . . we love the ANC,” Kasrils said.
The outspoken veteran leader has slammed graft in the ANC-led administration, including overspending on the US$23 million state-funded refurbishments on President Jacob Zuma’s private home.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, has poured scorn on the campaign, saying “all I can do is wish him luck” while the party’s youth wing suggested Kasrils see a psychologist.
The ‘Sidikiwe’ (we’ve had enough) ‘Vukani’ (wake up), no vote campaign will be launched at a university in Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, the South African government said yesterday those calling on voters to spoil their ballots in next month’s elections are being “irresponsible and treacherous”.
Responding to a question on the planned launch of a spoilt-vote campaign by some former government leaders, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said this flew in the face of 20 years of educating South African about their right to exercise their vote. “I think it is irresponsible and treacherous for anyone to come out and say . . . our people should spoil their vote.”
Speaking at a justice, crime prevention and security cluster media briefing in Pretoria, she said spoiling a vote was “a betrayal of everything we fought for in this country”.
Speaking at yesterday’s briefing, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said government had put measures in place to ensure a safe and secure election on May 7.
“Government will not tolerate any form of violence, intimidation, incitement, public disorder, vandalism or intolerance. Government will deal with anyone who seeks to derail the election process,” he warned.
Several election “hotspots” had been identified, and an inter-ministerial task team would visit these, starting this week, “and interact with communities in those areas”.
He later identified Bekkersdal in Gauteng and KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal as two such areas.
Mthethwa also announced that the SA Police Service would deploy its members around the country, as had been done in previous elections.
“The scale of deployments at each voting station will depend on how each area has been characterised as a hotspot.” Mthethwa said among those organisations invited to observe the elections were the African Union, the Commonwealth, European Union, the Southern African Development Community and the United Nations.
He also appealed to South Africans who had uncollected IDs at the department of home affairs to go and collect them. “We wish to make a special appeal to all South Africans not to wait until the last minute and to act immediately to prevent disappointment. Home affairs has 122 000 uncollected IDs and 23 000 uncollected smartcard IDs.”
Mthethwa also said there were 155 000 prison inmates across the country, who were registered to vote.
There were also about 26 000 South Africans living abroad who had registered to vote on 30 April. — Sapa/AFP.