In a first public challenge of its kind by a major public figure in the country, the integrity of South Africa’s electoral system has been put into sharp question by former President Jacob Zuma in today in an address to members of the All African Alliance Movement (AAAM) and of MK Party in Soweto, where he asked why vote counting in South Africa is done in secrecy.
Zuma says he is not surprised to hear some South Africans talking about rigging of elections. He said South Africans are concerned about potential for the rigging of the 2024 national and provincial elections.
Zuma said this during his speech at the political event organised by the All African Alliance Movement (AAAM) in Soweto on Friday.
Former Chief Justice Mogoeng’s party
The party where Zuma was the guest speaker is the one that former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng ditched. At the time the party had lined Mogoeng Mogoeng up as their presidential candidate.
Zuma said there was too much secrecy in the South African electoral system that having doubt was a fair criticism.
According to Zuma, it was suspicious that after voting, the voter has no idea where their vote goes until the results are announced.
Zuma questions transparency of the electoral process
In an ideal world, the whole process should be transparent. This includes the counting of votes. He believes all that should be done publicly.
“We are going to the elections soon and there are people who believe the elections will be rigged. Some have information that the counting system will be changed to advantage a particular party. Where is the truth?” said Zuma.
“Maybe because they say majority rule has the right to change laws, we should change the voting system. Why is there so much secrecy in our voting system? Especially the counting that is done behind the scenes?
“Why is the counting not done transparently in front of everyone,” he added, before dropping the media mics on the podium. He later apologized for his action, saying “because I am very angry about this subject matter.”
Suspicions of vote-rigging
Zuma believes something is fishy in any system where, after voting, the counting is not done in front of everyone who voted.
“What are they hiding from those that have voted? These are the things that make those that have won to be declared losers. That is fraud.”
The current system was a far cry from what he and other freedom fighters fought for, he said.
“I did not fight for freedom only for my vote to become a subject of extreme secrecy. What is being hidden so much?”
Two-thirds majority will be game changer
Zuma said the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party and other progressive parties must campaign to win the elections. He said a two-thirds majority win will enable them to change electoral legislation.
“It cannot be that people vote a particular way and then there are those with deep pockets who buy votes. That is blatant fraud.”
The democracy regime that South Africa has in its current form was a scam, he charged. He added that it was in the hands of traditional leaders and the clergy to mobilise their followers to vote for true democracy.
Source – sundayworld