The IEC is not dented, voting is on track – chief electoral officer

The two-day special voting is done and dusted. One day before the big day. Yet the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is already faced with challenges before the big election day.

There had been sporadic incidents of criminal activities that the IEC had to deal with.

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo gave an update at the national Results Operational Centre. The centre is based at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg. He said that at least two of the three alleged culprits involved in attempts to hinder votes in Mpumalanga have been nabbed.

The incident allegedly occurred on the first day of special voting on Monday. This as officials of the IEC were blocked by groups of people at the Chief Albert and Steve Tshwete municipalities.

Interference with ballot paper boxes being transported

“There is a case in Elukwatini in Mpumalanga. There, persons who alleged to be members of a political party interfered with the box when it was taken to storage. Two persons were arrested in this case. A third person is being sought because there were three,” said Mamabolo.

He said another challenge faced was in relation to a presiding officer who was accosted at his house and dragged to the police station in relation to bulk material that was delivered to a voting station.

Mamabolo said the public should not assume that the IEC was dented. Hiccups and human errors are expected, granted that these were large elections.

“I think one of the biggest challenge is taking aberrations and aggregating them for the whole. Take an incident in one locality and generalise it for the whole. Losing perspective about the fact that an election involves a programme providing a service at 23,000 points.

Orchestrations aimed at undermining credibility of outcome

“Now, you deal with 23,000 points involving over 260,000 officials [These are] human beings of different attitude, training, cultural backgrounds. Something is bound to go wrong,” he added.

He said these elections also faced a challenge of an orchestration that is meant to undermine the credibility of the outcome. He was referring to the trending videos from Saturday that alleged a truck was illegally transporting ballot papers.

In the midst of these challenges, he said they would be satisfied with at least 70% of voters turnout. This, or anything above the 2019 votes.

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