IEC rejects court threat from small parties

The IEC wrote to the 47 parties’ lawyers, saying their demands were unreasonable and unlawful. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

The IEC wrote to the 47 parties’ lawyers, saying their demands were unreasonable and unlawful. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

The Electoral Commission (IEC) said on Saturday that it would “vigorously oppose” any legal action aimed at interfering in the elections or the announcement of results.

The IEC was responding to a letter by 27 of the smaller parties who on Friday demanded an independent audit and a delay to the announcement of results following reports of irregularities. 

READ MORE: Small parties send lawyer’s letter to the IEC

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.

In response, the Commission wrote to the parties’ lawyers, saying their demands were unreasonable and unlawful.

“The law makes no provision for preemptive legal action to interdict the Commission from abiding by its Constitutional and legal mandate,” said the IEC.

The Commission said it had received 47 objections. Five were upheld and five were withdrawn by the objecting parties. “Most of the objections did not meet the requirements of section 55 (of the Electoral Act) and lacked any evidence of irregularity.”

The IEC said it was “satisfied with the integrity of its systems”.

The statement added that an “independent technical assurance process” — taking a random sample of 1020 voting districts — was underway, conducted by the Statistician-General. The commission was awaiting the findings of this process, it said.

Based on its finding and the other objections received, the commission would make a decision on outcome of elections later on Saturday.

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