SA's elections cruising towards free and fairness

The Independent Electoral Commission said it was quite happy with the 2014 vote. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The Independent Electoral Commission said it was quite happy with the 2014 vote. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

With no major incidents or impediments reported, and only one formal objection by noon on Thursday, the 2014 election result faces no serious hurdles.

A handful of the 22 263 voting stations opened late on Wednesday, mostly due to logistical trouble, but all closed with queuing voters having cast ballots – in two cases in the early hours of Thursday morning rather than Wednesday night.

In Springs a box of special votes were found by the side of a road – where they should not have been – a grand total of 16 votes were involved.

In Brakpan a school in which cast ballots were stored was burgled, but the votes had already been counted.

Some of the votes cast in other countries had not been received as expected, but a decision had been made to extend the window for their transport until 5pm on Friday.

In Alexandra in Johannesburg there was concern that protest action could interrupt proceedings, but police said they had the situation under control.

Happy IEC
And, most seriously, in Tzaneen a group of assailants ambushed a voting station before it closed, and counting there had not yet started by Thursday afternoon.

But with the results from more than half the voting districts published, and with the counting progressing quickly just about everywhere, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said it was quite happy with the 2014 vote.

As of midday on Thursday, the IEC said, all disputes and disagreements on process and counting, and all complaints by party agents had been settled, with the exception of one formal objection lodged by the African Christian Democratic Party. Although the details of the objection were not yet available, it was not expected to have a significant influence on the result. Other parties that had complained in public, sometimes loudly, about election procedures, had not lodged formal objections.

Some observer missions were still collating information from their fieldworkers on Thursday, but said they were not expecting to make anything other than recommendations for improvements in future elections.

Everything pointed to the release of a final result on Friday, although the IEC would not commit itself to a time frame for announcing the ultimate numbers.

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