IEC says no major incidents reported on day one of special voting

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The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says the first day of special voting in South Africa proceeded as planned.

Many South Africans, who will not be able to  make it to the polls on election day,  made use of the opportunity.

Special voting was underway throughout South Africa on Monday  at  voting stations and through home visits.

“Reports showed that with the exception of a handful of minor incidents, special voting proceeded as planned,” notes the IEC.

“Among the incidents which marred the first day were reports of voting stations in Ginsberg, outside King William’s Town, and Idutywa in the Eastern Cape, where election staff and voters were prevented from conducting voting due to community unrest,” the IEC notes.

The IEC says the matter has been reported to the South African Police Services (SAPS) to investigate. “It is a criminal offence to interfere with the duties of election officials and/or to prevent voters from voting.”

Police have warned that any disruptions to the elections will not be tolerated and an increased police presence is planned for areas where protest and civil unrest is anticipated.

In Limpopo, a pack of three unused, unassembled ballot boxes was discovered on the side of a road in Tzaneen. The Commission says it has investigated the incident and found that the boxes were lost off the back of a vehicle during transport to a voting station.

“Fortunately there is no risk to the elections as the boxes were unused and there are many safeguards to protect the integrity of the elections. However, such incidents are highly regrettable as they serve to undermine the faith of the public and stakeholders in the process,” says Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo.