IEC Confirms Election Tampering Arrests

May 29, 2024
National Results Operations Centre in Midrand Gauteng | Report Focus News
National Results Operations Centre in Midrand Gauteng

SOUTH AFRICA | Sy Mamabolo, the Chief Electoral Officer of the Electoral Commission (IEC), announced that the South African Police Service has arrested two people for allegedly tampering with election materials and processes. The IEC processed at least 937,000 voters over the two days of special voting, exceeding the turnout from the 2019 general elections. Mamabolo believes this indicates a promising turnout for the upcoming voting day on Wednesday.

At the National Results Centre in Midrand, Mamabolo reported that the 107 voting stations impacted by a taxi strike in Umtata on the first day of special voting eventually opened. However, he raised concerns about incidents in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal, where obstructions led to two arrests.

“We appreciate the efforts of our law enforcement agencies,” Mamabolo stated. “Two arrests have been made, and at least two cases are under investigation by the SAPS for interfering with electoral materials and processes. It’s crucial for all of us to ensure that these elections are free, fair, and secure, reflecting the true will of the South African people.”

In one incident, political party representatives followed an IEC presiding officer transporting a used ballot box to a storage site and handled the box, leading to their arrest since only IEC officials can handle ballot boxes. In another incident, followers of a political party confronted a presiding officer at his home in Chesterville about materials delivered to the voting station.

In the Free State, the IEC reported a smooth process on the final day of special voting. Provincial Electoral Officer Jabulani Tshabalala noted that there were over 6,000 station visits across 1,444 service points, and more than 14,000 home visits during the two days. Over 8,000 people registered to cast special votes in the province, and Tshabalala expressed satisfaction with the progress.

“Voters who missed the special voting days are encouraged to vote on May 29,” Tshabalala said.

Sy Mamabolo urged the remaining 26 million eligible voters to participate in Wednesday’s general elections. Polling stations will be open from 7 am to 9 pm.

The South African Red Cross Society announced their commitment to voter safety during the elections, especially in hotspots identified by the IEC. Granted observer status nationwide, the Society will station trained personnel and volunteers 100 meters from voting stations to ensure accessibility and provide assistance in case of medical emergencies. Claudia Mangwegape, the manager in the Free State, confirmed these arrangements.