IEC: Election wasn't perfect, but it was free and fair

The Independent Electoral Commission has weathered a storm to criticism to declare the 2014 elections free and fair. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

The Independent Electoral Commission has weathered a storm to criticism to declare the 2014 elections free and fair. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

Independent Electoral Commission deputy chairman Terry Tselane has acknowledged there were mistakes during this year’s elections, but said like any other organisation in the world, the IEC was not perfect. 

Addressing party representatives and observers during the official announcement of results on Saturday night, Tselane said: “These elections were not perfect. No election is. In the next coming weeks we will be reflecting and looking at what went wrong.”  

The IEC has come under enormous pressure from opposition parties, including Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters and the Pan Africanist Congress, who accused the IEC of rigging elections in favour of the ruling ANC, particularly in Gauteng. 

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

•   View the scanned slip for Montana Hoerskool and the captured results

“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. 

The M&G was alerted on Saturday to 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.

The Pan Africanist Congress earlier on Saturday said it rejected the provisional elections – accusing the IEC of incorrectly allocating its votes to other parties. “The PAC has evidence to that effect and has communicated these discrepancies it has discovered and also conveyed it with the IEC. These sentiments, the party has been echoing since 1994 and finally today we have evidence to that effect, said PAC secretary general Narious Moloto in a statement. “The PAC has clearly established that its votes have been systematically switched to other parties to diminish the actual number of its national votes.” The PAC retained its one seat in the National Assembly.

IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula on Saturday declared the 2014 elections free and fair, despite complaints by opposition parties. “Today as we celebrate two decades of democracy and as we conclude our fifth democratic national and provincial elections, we can affirm to one another and to the world – democracy is alive and thriving in our land. On Wednesday, 18 million South Africans stood together as a nation and as they did in 2009, 2004, 1999 and most famously in 1994.” 

In an about turn, Malema told journalists during a press briefing on Saturday his party accepted the results and congratulated the IEC for running free and fair elections.

Tlakula said of the 29 political parties that contested elections, 13 of those have received sufficient votes to have representation in the National Assemply. The ANC won 249 seats, followed by the Democratic Alliance with 89 seats and the EFF with 25 seats. Inkatha Freedom Party received 10 seats, the National Freedom Party six seats, United Democratic Party 4 seats, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) three seats and Congress of the People three seats. Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang SA received two seats.



Matuma Letsoalo is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003, focussing on politics and labour, and collaborated with the M&G's centre for investigations, amaBhungane, from time to time.In 2011, Matuma won the South African Journalist of the Year Award and was also the winner in the investigative journalism category in the same year.In 2004, he won the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize – the MKO Abiola Print Journalism Award. Matuma was also a joint category winner of the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the year Award in 2008. In 2013, he was a finalist for Wits University's Taco Kuiper Award. Read more from ML

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