IEC confirms arrests for election tampering allegations

National Results Operations Centre for the 2024 elections
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The Electoral Commission (IEC)’s Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo has confirmed that the South African Police Service has arrested two people in connection with allegations of tampering with election materials and processes.

The IEC says at least 937 000 voters were processed over the two days of special voting, a higher number than in the 2019 general elections.

Mamabolo says this augurs well for a high turnout on voting day on Wednesday.

Giving a rundown of developments at the National Results Centre in Midrand, Mamabolo states that the 107 voting stations that were affected by a taxi strike in Umtata on the first day of special voting were ultimately opened. He however raises concern about two incidents in Mpumalanga and Kwazulu Natal where the work of IEC officials was obstructed resulting in two arrests.

Mamabolo says, “We further welcome all interventions made by our law enforcement agencies. Two arrests have been effected and at least two cases are being investigated by the SAPS for interference with electoral materials as well as electoral processes. It is now up to all of us to work together to ensure that these elections are free, fair and secure – and that the outcome reflects the will of the South African electorate.”

Ballot box

He adds, “Representatives of a political party followed our presiding officer as he was taking the used ballot box back to the storage site yesterday. They handled the box. Now no party should be allowed to handle the ballot box only officials of the IEC may do so. Hence they were arrested. The other incident relates to another presiding officer indeed in Chesterville where again followers of a political party went to the home of the presiding officer to say he must account for the bulk material already delivered at the voting station.”


Seamless process

The IEC in the Free State says the final day of special voting has been a seamless process. Provincial Electoral Officer Jabulani Tshabalala says in the two days set aside for South Africans in the province to cast their ballots, there were more than 6000 station visits across 1444 service points and more than 14 000 home visits were carried out in the province.
While more than 8000 people registered to cast their special votes in the province, Tshabalala says the IEC is happy with the progress made.
“Voters that missed the opportunity to participate during these two days of special votes are encouraged to cast their ballots on May 29,” he explains.
IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo has reiterated this call and has urged the remaining 26 million eligible voters to go out and cast their ballots in Wednesday’s general elections.
Polling stations are expected to open at 7am and close at 9pm.
Meanwhile, the South African Red Cross Society said it would promote the safety and well-being of voters during the elections, including hotspots in the province identified by the IEC.
The Society has been granted observer status nationwide and will be on hand to assist with voter safety.
The manager in the Free State Claudia Mangwegape indicated that they will have trained personnel as well as volunteers stationed 100 metres from voting stations to ensure accessibility and to assist in the case of a medical emergency.