The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) confirmed on Monday evening it is investigating an alleged case of assault against a police officer after DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille was dragged from a voting station on Monday afternoon.
A VIDEO OF THE INCIDENT WAS SHARED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
According to Ipid spokesperson Grace Langa, Zille allegedly opened a case of assault against the police officer after they mishandled her
“Ipid is investigating a case of assault where it is alleged that the complainant is Mrs. Helen Zille. It is alleged that she opened a case of assault against a.
“It is also alleged that there was a person who was taking a video of the incident, and the police took his phone, which was later handed back to him, this person later opened a theft case.”
Langa said they have been trying to get hold of Zille but have not been successful yet.
But Zille took to social media on Monday evening, saying she had been busy.
“I am too busy with the election to answer your phone calls now.”
She explained the entire ordeal on her Facebook Page, saying election day is an enormous logistic exercise.
She said it was clear that delays at the Fernwood Park Primary Voting Station were clearly deliberate, and scores of voters left without voting in this DA stronghold.
“The same, apparently, applies in many other places. If elections lose their credibility in South Africa, the IEC will have much to answer for. As I experienced today at Fernwood Park Primary.”
She explained that in each town and city there are hundreds of volunteers assigned different tasks: phoning voters, transporting voters, checking IDs, collating statistics, managing the media, dealing with a myriad of queries and much more.
WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE ZILLE WAS DRAGGED FROM A VOTING STATION:
“My task today, in Nelson Mandela Bay, was two-fold: greeting voters and “walking the queue”. Greeting voters is self-explanatory. I enjoy doing it.
But when long queues start to form, the job of “walking the queue” becomes more important. It involves encouraging people to stay in the queue, no matter how long it takes and how frustrated they get, so that they can cast their vote rather than go home.”
She said that the new voter-processing system of the IEC took an inordinately long time per voter.
“Queue walking has never been as important in any election before as it was today.”
Zille said at the Ferndale Park Primary, she found a particularly long queue snaking around the building with angry voters.
“Using my authorisation form, I went into the voting station, signed a book, and spoke to the Presiding Officer.
According to Zille, the Presiding officer was entirely disinterested in resolving the extreme slowness of the voting process.
She said while observing and without interfering, she was told to leave the voting station.
“I said I had the required authorisation to be there and then suggested that she use her authority to divide the queue on the basis of alphabetical surnames, as had happened in a nearby Voting Station.
“She was not interested in what I had to say, and indeed, did not seem to know anything about this Standard Operating Procedure, that was being applied at some other voting stations. Either that, or else was being deliberately obstructive.”
Zille said she left the voting station and the IEC representative in Nelson Mandela Bay, to explain to the Presiding officer what had happened.
“I then went on my rounds to other voting stations. At about 12h30, I returned to Fernwood Park Primary only to find the queue even longer and that the double queue system had still not been implemented.”
“Once again, I walked up the queue from the back, thanking people for coming and asking them to stay in the queue, even though many of them had been waiting for hours.
“When I made my way to the front of the queue, two of the ANC party agents told me to stop canvassing in the queue. I told them I was not canvassing, I was urging people to stay in the queue despite their intense frustration at the inordinate delay.”
Zille said she used my written authorisation, and again entered the voting station to approach the Presiding officer.
“She immediately snapped at me that I was canvassing in the queue. I said that was not true and told her not to accuse me of this when she had no evidence to that effect at all.
“A burly policeman, Warrant Officer A Botha, approached and before I could say a word, he instructed me to leave. I presented my authorisation, and said I had a right to be there. With that he instructed me to leave, grabbed me and frog-marched me out of the building. I told him to let me go or I would charge him with assault.”
Zille said she tried to rip herself free of his grasp but he was very powerful and frog-marched her all the way to the gate.
“My colleague filmed the last segment of his violence, at which point he lunged over and grabbed her cell phone. She tried to get it back but he turned and went into the building.”