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Concern over low turn-out

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“A meeting will take place today to select the three candidates who will be shortlisted as the new premier”

DFA Photographer Soraya Crowie was at the IEC provincial centre yesterday as the results came in.

POLITICAL parties are concerned over the low voter turn-out during the national general elections, where the Northern Cape recorded a 65.3 percent attendance at around 7pm last night. At the time of going to press counting was still under way.

ANC provincial chairperson Zamani Saul said that the Northern Cape could expect a new provincial cabinet before the end of the month.

The Northern Cape Provincial Legislature intends swearing in new members, electing the new Speaker, deputy Speaker and premier on May 22.

Saul said the new cabinet would be announced soon after this.

“A meeting will take place today to select the three candidates who will be shortlisted as the new premier,” said Saul.

He dismissed any possibility of Tina Joemat-Petterssen returning to the Province as premier. “She is not included on the province to province list.”

He stated that any official who was not performing would not be considered to be fit to serve as a civil servant.

“We can expect new energy, new blood and fresh dynamism in the new cabinet while we do away with corruption, incompetence and laziness. We will retain some old faces. Lack of experience is not an excuse to not be employed in the legislature or government.

“Provincial government has a number of challenges to address including the high rate of poverty and unemployment. We will have to act decisively against mismanagement of the fiscus.”

Saul lamented the low voter turn-out but was satisfied with the ANC’s share of the voter pie.

“We are grateful for all the support – even if it was more than 50 percent. We were worried because we entered the elections on the back of five commissions that exposed our leaders. This could have had an adverse impact and demoralise voters, although it is not something that we regret. ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa is very popular, you cannot fault him. Ramaphosa is strengthening the capacity of the South African Revenue Service and the National Prosecuting Authority. Those implicated in state capture must be held accountable.”

EFF provincial secretary Shadrack Tlhaole meanwhile believed that voters felt that they were not being taken seriously.

“I don’t think that people have lost interest in politics, rather that they are disappointed in government. Unlike the DA and ANC, who are deemed to be heavyweights and lost support, the EFF was the only party to double its support base. We have enjoyed a slow, steady growth. We are hoping to get three or four seats in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature,” said Tlhaole.

He also believed that the elections could be rigged as there were reports of election ink that was rubbed off by voters and allegations of double voting. “A lot of loopholes in the system are going undetected.”

Tlhaole brushed off suggestions that he would replace EFF provincial leader Aubrey Baartman after the elections.

“In the EFF we do not kill each other for positions. Ill-discipline will not be tolerated – we are guided by our central command team.”

He stated that no decisions had been made regarding forming a coalition with any other party.

“We intend to retain our independence, we will not back down and will continue fighting. We cannot be led by arrogant leaders. If we had formed a coalition with the ANC, I would have told ANC provincial chairperson Zamani Saul to first clean up the city – it is very dirty. Hurried attempts to fix potholes and roads before the elections amounts to vote buying.”