ANC officials claim they were denied at a larney farm while canvassing for votes from the elderly and disabled for the upcoming municipal elections on August 3.
ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs has slammed the move as “illegal”.
“This shows the farm and its owner or management have no regard for the Electoral Act that states no person may unreasonably prevent any other person access to voters for the purpose of voter education, collecting signatures, recruiting members, raising funds or canvassing support for a party candidate,” he says.
ANC members Anthony Appel, Margaret le Roux and Gorden Pedro claim they were turned away at the gates to Oak Valley Estate near Grabouw last Tuesday.
Appel believes this affects farm workers’ right to vote for the party of their choice.
“It means that residents on farms are being denied their constitutional right to exercise their right to vote,” says Appel.
Appel, a councillor at Overberg District Municipality, says a farm manager refused their entry without giving any reasons.
But during a visit to the farm on Friday, the same manager sang a different tune.
The man, who did not want to identify himself, said he told Appel and Le Roux that a manager or the security should escort them to the people they wished to visit.
However, “this was impossible as most people were on leave”, he said.
But Anthony Rawbone-Viljoen, managing director of Oak Valley Estates, confirmed to the Daily Voice that the ANC officials were refused entry.
This is due to a “generic policy” prohibiting any and all political activities on the property, he states.
“It is common knowledge that political activities around the time of elections come with the risk of violence, consequent damage to property as well as the risk of injury to individuals. This consequence Oak Valley wishes to avoid in the best interest of all parties.”
He adds that management encouraged residents to register for the elections and provided transport to registration points.
“We went out of our way to submit forms for the seven residents requiring special votes,” he explains.
Trevor Davids, provincial spokesperson for the IEC, explains that they have a standing agreement with AgriSA and Agri Wes-Kaap identifying all farms as private property.
“Therefore political parties need to get permission to canvas on farms. AgriSA gave the assurance that farmers will give all political parties equal access and this has been communicated to all political organisations,” says Davids.