National

Discrepancies on audited election results anger opposition parties

Verashni Pillay

Auditors have failed to catch a number of worrying issues, the M&G has learnt, leading to concerns over the poll results, particularly in Gauteng.

A scanned slip from one voting station differed wildly with what was recorded by the IEC and signed off by auditors. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

A number of discrepancies have emerged on counted votes from various voting stations, the Mail & Guardian has learnt.

  • Read the follow-up to this article here

A scanned slip from one voting station differed vastly with what was recorded by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and signed off by auditors. 

Some result slips have not been signed by the counting officer at the voting station, and in other cases there is a large discrepancy between the national and provincial vote for a party, beyond the norm. 

Many of the incidents seem to be in Gauteng, which is the last province to be counted, as the metros have come in last. 

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have called the delay in Gauteng’s counting suspicious, particularly as it happened in the early hours of Friday morning when the ANC’s support had dipped to below 50%, according to the EFF. 

An independent observer of the elections, Mike Atkins, pointed out one ward where the numbers on the IEC system for the national election at the ward, which has been signed off by auditors, differs enormously with the scanned slip.

Scanned results
At Hoërskool Montana in Pretoria the scanned results slip, which was signed off by a counting officer but not by any party agents, showed votes as followed for certain parties:

  • African Christian Democratic Party: 3 277
  • Freedom Front Plus: 910 
  • African Independent Congress: 382 
  • African National Congress: 28 
  • Democratic Alliance: 7

The results for the parties however appear on the IEC’s results report, available to journalists, parties and observers at the IEC’s national results centre in Pretoria as follows: 

  • African Christian Democratic Party: 70 
  • Freedom Front Plus: 382 
  • African Independent Congress: 2 
  • African National Congress: 910 
  • Democratic Alliance: 3 277

In addition the first 16 parties on the results slip were recorded to have received varying numbers of votes, while the 13 below all received zero votes, including the Inkatha Freedom Party, National Freedom Party and United Democratic Movement. 

The scanned slips from each voting station is a record of the tally of votes per party, and are sent to the local counting centre to be collated and counted. Discrepancies, such as this one, should be picked up by auditors. 

“If this is the case with this voting station, how many others are there?” asked Atkins. 

The issue of big discrepancies between provincial and national ballots also cropped up. At Hoërskool Montana , seven votes were cast for the Democratic Alliance(DA) on the national ballot and 3 368 on the provincial ballot. 

In Actonville, Benoni, east of Johannesburg, the DA received 270 votes nationally and 2 651 provincially.

Unusual
Atkins pointed out that while some people split their votes for smaller parties such as the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and Minority Front (MF) provincially and voted for larger parties nationally, the large difference between provincial and national ballots in these two incidents were not the norm. 

There were also a few incidents where far more votes were cast provincially than nationally at the same station. 

In a ward in Richwood, in the Western Cape, 3 741 ballots were received for the province and 1 677 received nationally. Only 13 votes were recorded as spoilt for the national vote, meaning more than 2 000 people at the station chose not to fill in a national ballot, which is an unlikely scenario according to Atkins. 

The ACDP and the EFF found another issue at Khayelihle Primary School in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni. The scanned slip was signed by neither the counting officer nor party agents, even though the EFF had agents at the venue according to both parties.

The EFF along with ACDP have both put in an objection about the matter, calling for a recount of the station – and the province. 

EFF national elections co-ordinator Gardee Godrich has filed the EFF’s objection about the matter, which the M&G has seen, stating that the presiding officer at the station told EFF party agents they could not sign off on results as “he did not have result slips” at the time.

Concerning 
The ACDP said the irregularities at the ward in Vosloorus was particularly concerning as the area is a stronghold for the ACDP. It is where their leader Kenneth Meshoe lives and leads the Hope of Glory Church. 

The party received 46 votes on the national ballot and zero for the provincial ballot. Brendon Govender, the ACDP’s elections IT manager and Tshwane regional chair, said the difference between the numbers was odd and getting zero votes in the ward stranger still. “The EFF party agents at the station said we got 52 votes on the provincial ballot and 46 on the national ballot.”

According to the Electoral Act, objections must be made to the commission “no later than 21:00 on the second day after the voting day”. However the ACDP pointed out that the deadline for objections was at 9pm on Friday – while the results from big metros were still coming in. 

“The trend from the last election was that the metro results came in first,” said Govender. “How can they have a deadline of 9pm and hold back metros?” he asked. Other parties told the M&G it takes time to go through the voting station results as they are counted, to spot any irregularities.  

The IEC’s Lydia Young told the M&G late on Friday night that the commission had received the objection about the matter in Vosloorus, and would be looking into it. 

It was not able to comment on other allegations immediately.


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