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IEC responds to discrepancies on audited election results

Verashni Pillay, Mmanaledi Mataboge

The IEC has responded to allegations of voting discrepancies, saying the worst incidents are a result of corrections being made.

IEC chair Pansy Tlakula briefing journalists at the commission's results centre in Pretoria. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Saturday responded to allegations of voting discrepancies, saying the worst incidents were a result of corrections being made.

A scanned slip at Hoërskool Montana in Pretoria differed vastly with what was recorded by the IEC and signed off by auditors.

“The results on the system were corrected and captured as per the results slip,” the IEC said in response to questions from the Mail & Guardian.

The audit trail on the IEC’s system strongly suggests national results were recorded in error and that this was corrected. But there is no available slip or recording of the correction.

Similar discrepancies
Meanwhile, the M&G was alerted on Saturday of a similar discrepancy where the ANC vote captured was nearly double of that on the slip but no auditing trail was shown to have caught the error.

At the Gugulethu Civic Hall in Cape Town, the ANC was recorded as having received 1 827 votes in the provincial count – about 86% of votes cast. But the scanned results slip showed only 980 votes for the ANC.

“If this is the case with this voting station then how many others are there?” independent observer Mike Atkins told the M&G.

There have also been 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 were 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.

“Section 24 A votes may account for discrepancies between national and provincial votes,” the IEC said in response.

Calls for recounting
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had been the most vocal of the small parties concerned about the discrepancies – and the most powerful.

But the EFF on Saturday announced its decision to accept the results, despite the errors it had picked up.

“Whatever shenanigans they did we accept, it’s part of the school fees you pay.” said Malema. “There are no perfect elections. We don’t want a civil war, we don’t want this country in ashes. We love this country of Nelson Mandela.”

This leaves the Pan Afranist Congress (PAC) and African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) in a difficult position as they are they only ones calling for a recount. The ACDP put in an objection on Friday night about a particular ward, calling for a recount of Gauteng’s votes, along with the EFF, but the party has since been persuaded to accept results.

“We can’t keep picking on small things,” said EFF national elections co-ordinator Gardee Godrich who filed the EFF’s objection about the matter. “The country is too important … we don’t want to be another Angola or Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Deadline passed
The PAC missed the deadline for objections, which other parties have said was too tight given that metros were still being counted. The party made ageneral call for all results to be recounted.

This was despite the supposed partnership between the EFF and PAC ahead of elections.

PAC secretary general Narius Moloto, who claimed the party had been robbed, told the M&G that the party complained to the IEC after receiving evidence that some of their provincial votes were reduced when they got to the national stage.

Moloto said the party “rejected” results that the IEC posted at its results operations centre in Pretoria because they were “not a true reflection of the votes the PAC received”.

“We have got evidence in a form of samples from voting districts, which show that this thing is organised, it’s not an accident,” Moloto said.  

“The people of South Africa must be presented with real facts of votes that were stolen from the PAC in order to render it irrelevant.

“We have approached the IEC, we did show them a trend where members vote for PAC in the province and where national is capturing those figures it’s zero while those votes are allocated to other parties.”

‘Fraudulent signatures’
PAC deputy secretary general Bennett Joko showed the M&G figures from voting districts, which he said were reduced by IEC officials when they got to a national level. At the University of Cape Town where the PAC received 86 votes, according to a signed provincial results slip, the number was reduced to zero when the results got national approval. While a PAC party agent had signed the provincial results slip, the national copy was not signed. At another voting district at Walter Sisulu University, the PAC claimed to have received 136 votes, but they were eventually reduced to 88.

According to the Electoral Act, the deadline for objections was on Friday at 9pm but the PAC said it only became aware of irregularities in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“We don’t understand why they [IEC] are in a hurry, given the nature of these objections, to conclude this thing today [Saturday] while the Electoral Act provides for seven days to release the results,” said Moloto.

There has been no real improvement in the PAC’s performance since 1994 elections but the party claims it was certain that 2014 was its year to show progress.

“Our votes have been systematically stolen since 1994. We are sure that if a recount is done the numbers will change,” Moloto said.

“We are not speculating here. Even when we complained we were able to show them the fraudulent signatures where our party agents have not signed.”


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