Attorneys for a group of 27 political parties has urgently written to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) demanding an independent audit and a delay to the declaration of election results.
The group has been threatening court action since Thursday, after reports began to emerge of double voting, late-opening voting stations, indelible ink coming off and scanners not working.
The extent of the irregularities is yet to be determined however, and the IEC has commissioned a “soft” or “quick” audit to get a better picture.
In the letter, the parties — which include the Congress of the People, the Pan Africanist Congress, the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party and the African Content Movement — said the reports of irregularities during voting could not be attributed to “isolated incidents”, but could be directly linked to “a failure of the system”.
The complaints raised “are not only material to the outcome of the elections, but by the very nature thereof cast serious doubts over the credibility and the freeness and fairness” of the elections, they said.
They complain that the audit is being conducted by the IEC, saying it is compromised, and demand that the IEC appoint independent auditors by 11 am on Saturday and refrain from declaring the outcome of the election.
However it is understood that the sampling and the audit is being conducted by the Statistician-General. Should the parties go to court, the Electoral Act says that the results of the election are not suspended pending the decision of the electoral court.