/ 29 May 2024

Shivambu criticises IEC for voting delays at Soweto’s Moses Kotane Primary School

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu makes his mark. Photo: X/@FloydShivambu

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu has raised concerns about the late start at the Moses Kotane Primary School voting station in Soweto, which he said was caused by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) voters’ roll machines.

Shivambu, who was standing in the queue to cast his vote, said he was concerned by the “unorganised systems which were delaying the voting process”.

Many older people expressed frustration over the delay, with some giving up and going home without voting.

Other voters said they felt IEC representatives were unfamiliar with the system, which led to the voting process being delayed until after 10am, instead of 7am.

During a morning media briefing, the IEC said that the overwhelming majority of voting stations reported they were open. The commission said that 93% of its voting stations had opened early, and the remainder opened soon thereafter. 

The IEC’s presiding officer, Mildred Mabhongo, said she was aware of problems with the voter management devices that forced officials to physically capture names on paper. 

“The voter management devices are failing us a lot … we started a little bit later because of them. That is why there was a crisis,” she said.

EFF leader Julius Malema accused the IEC of incompetency, warning that the party would not allow a second day of voting. 

He said that should an extension be granted, the EFF had not made plans to secure votes that would be cast overnight.

“We can’t allow any voting to be extended to the following day. We cannot allow a deliberate delay,” he said.

Malema added that the IEC should have taken lessons from 2019 and improved on the systems to avoid system glitches. 

“The system is actually worse than it was in 2014 and 2019,” he said.

“In the past I wouldn’t come here and wait for more than 15 minutes. By half past two I  would have covered 40 voting stations by now, but I am sitting here because of the IEC’s incompetence and it’s not only me, it is everybody in South Africa,” he said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the EFF said that delays in voting were endangering the democratic process.

“The EFF hopes there is a genuine glitch in the system and this is not a ploy by the IEC for an unplanned second day of voting and having ballots sleep over in the homes of presiding officers,” the party said.

Shivambu said despite the delays, the party was transporting many voters to voting stations to cast their votes and increase the party’s support. 

He said he was confident that the party would emerge victorious in his ward.

“We are more than confident that we are going to come out on top in terms of the outcomes of these elections. A huge number of our people will vote for the EFF and the feeling everywhere is positive,” he said.