IEC concerned as unauthorized individuals enter storage sites

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it is concerned by the obstruction of election activities, which include alleged “vote rigging”, unlawful entry to IEC storage sites, and threats to an IEC official that happened over the weekend in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
IEC national spokesperson Kate Bapela said the commission noted with great concern the incidents that occurred at the eThekwini Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday.
Bapela said there are videos that are circulating on social media by supporters of the MK Party’s alleged “vote rigging” in progress.
Bapela said these videos relate to activities at the commission’s storage sites in Chesterville and Hammersdale.
Planned logistical arrangements
“We wish to clarify that the videos depict our planned logistical arrangements and storage
of election materials as we prepare for the first day of special voting on 27 May 2024. These are legitimate and authorised arrangements for the distribution of ballot papers
and other bulk material.
“The planned security measures were that the trucks distributing ballot papers are
escorted by SAPS to the local storage site. These storage sites will then be guarded on
a 24-hours basis. This arrangement would ensure that the storage sites are protected
against unauthorized entry, burglary, and tempering with election materials and ensure
detailed control and recording of all items in storage,” said Bapela.
Bapela said the commission notes that the individuals seen in the video entered the warehouse without authorisation and filmed their unauthorised activitities.
“The commission further notes that members of MK are now at the provincial warehouse
of the commission where the ballots were returned. No party will be allowed to gain entry
into the warehouse premises of the commission. We instruct the leadership of MK party
to immediately leave the warehouse as the commission urgently needs to finalise the
distribution of election material,” said Bapela.
Electoral official woken up in the middle of the night
Meanwhile, Bapela said there was another incident in eThekwini where an IEC presiding officer was woken up at home in the middle of the night about bulk material stored at the Baptist Church voting station in Chesterville.
“Bulk material is voting booths, voting station signage/banners and new unfolded ballot boxes. This bulk electoral material was taken to Cato Manor police station in eThekwini, in KwaZulu Natal.
“It is part of the logistical plan for the commission to deliver bulk material to voting stations ahead of election day. This is meant to ensure that voting stations open on time as only security material such as ballot papers will be delivered on the day of voting.
“The commission strongly condemns threats to its staff. No party nor its representatives
have authority to gain access to private homes of electoral staff. Worse still no party nor
its representatives may take control of election material without being authorized.
“We want to assure the public that additional measures have been implemented to secure
these various storage sites across the country. We confirm that the commission has possession of all election materials shown in these videos.
“This electoral material is being prepared for distribution to voting stations in time for the special votes tomorrow 27 May 2024,” said Bapela.
Bapela said the commission is contemplating measures against the party and the individuals involved in the aforementioned obstruction incidents to election activities “as such obstruction to election activities should not be tolerated.”
“This conduct violates the Code of Conduct and other electoral prescripts,” said Bapela.


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