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Objections will not suspend the election results

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Reports of irregularities have led a group of smaller parties to lodge an objection to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), and are threatening court action, saying the election is not free and fair.

The smaller parties include African Transformation Movement, linked to the faction aligned to the former president Jacob Zuma, Numsa’s Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, and the Congress of the People.

At midday, the IEC was still considering the objection and conducting a “soft audit” of whether any duplicate voters had occurred. They were expected to brief the nation on the process by 2pm.

The smaller parties complained over allegations of irregularities such as individuals voting twice — however its is unclear how many actual complaints there were over duplicate voters.

Objections are governed by Section 55 of the Electoral Act, which allows any interested party to lodge an objection by 9pm on the second day after voting. The commission must then decide on the objection and notify the interested parties.

If the smaller parties are aggrieved by the commission’s decision, they may then approach the electoral court, on appeal.

However, importantly, the results of the election are not suspended pending the decision of the electoral court.

The Act says that if the commission or electoral court decides that a serious irregularity has occurred concerning any aspect of the election, they may order that the votes cast at a particular voting station do not count in whole or in part; or that the votes cast in favour of a registered party at a particular voting station must be deducted in whole or in part from the votes cast in favour of that registered party in that election. 

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Franny Rabkin
Franny Rabkin
Franny is the legal reporter at the Mail & Guardian
Natasha Marrian
Natasha Marrian
Marrian has built a reputation as an astute political journalist, investigative reporter and commentator. Until recently she led the political team at Business Day where she also produced a widely read column that provided insight into the political spectacle of the week.

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