The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says it will not hold the country back and remains intent on announcing the results of the sixth democratic election on Saturday.
At a press conference dominated by questions about alleged electoral fraud, electoral commissioner Glen Mashinini said: “We don’t intend to hold the country back from doing what we have traditionally done.”
There has been concern that the results may be delayed after a group of 27 smaller parties threatened legal action over the reporting of multiple incidents of voter fraud, centering on the ability of voters to remove the presumed indelible ink.
Deputy national police commissioner General Sehlahle Masemola — who was part of the briefing — confirmed that 22 people who had attempted to vote twice, had been arrested.
In one case in Hluhluwe in northern Kwazulu-Natal, two brothers — whose thumb voter marks were clearly visible to IEC staff — insisted on voting a second time, saying they wanted a voters mark on the other hand. Police were called and the pair were arrested before being able to cast their second ballot, Masemola said.
Cases of possible double or multiple voting, or the attempt to do so, has caused concern over the credibility of the vote, prompting the IEC to rope in the help of the Statistician-General, who will now interrogate a sample of 1 020 voting districts to determine how widespread a problem this could possibly be.
“Indications are that it’s theoretically possible for a person to vote more than once… At this stage we have no direct evidence that that has happened,” vice-chairperson of the IEC, Janet Love said.
It is understood that all parties are set to meet with the IEC on Saturday, where the office of the statistician-general is expected to take them through a presentation of the findings of its investigation.
The statistician-general’s office had initially indicated that it would take them at least a month to review the entire vote but the much smaller sample would now significantly cut down that timeframe.
A source within the Democratic Alliance (DA) said his party would take along their own statistician to help ensure that all checks and balances are maintained.
By the time of the last party liaison committee meeting at midday on Friday, the total number of objections amounted to 14.
These included an official Electoral Act objection — namely Section 55 — from the DA on the allegations of multiple voting.
These specifically point to the ink used at voting stations, the forms that allow voters to cast their ballot anywhere in their registered province and the shortage of ballot papers in some voting districts — all of which they claim point to the potential for multiple voting.