The 2014 South Africa election is over, the counting of ballots will be finalized during the day and irregularities are streaming in. Even before Wednesday, May 7, the official voting date, there were complaints and stories about the fairness of the elections.
Reports of ballot papers stored at officials’ houses and falling off trucks as well as tampering of ballot boxes continue to emerge in the South African media. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Chair, Pansy Tlakula, said some papers had accidentally fallen off a truck in Cape Town on Sunday. The vehicles used to move the ballot papers to and from voting stations were not reliable for the purpose, Tlakula said. After this incident, definite instructions were issued to the transport companies appointed during the election to ensure the ballot boxes were properly secured and to avoid repeating the mistake. She said the ballot papers have been recovered, and people should not be alarmists. The lost ballot papers had serial numbers, and the IEC was able to trace the papers back to the correct voting station. The issue has been reported to the liaison committee in order to keep the election transparent in the face of any charges of wrongdoing occurring during the South Africa election.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader, Helen Zille, raised a concern over dumped ballot papers in Pretoria on May 8, the day after the election. The ballot papers, showing a majority vote for the DA, were found and party agents confirmed the votes had been counted and would not affect any voting districts. There is a chance the boxes had fallen off a truck. Jordan Griffith, a DA party spokesperson, said he was present when the votes were counted, recorded and signed off, and the IEC in their laziness had dumped them. The votes should have been kept and stored until the official announcement is confirmed or iin case a recount is called for. Zille expressed concern that the IEC was not transporting ballot papers correctly, maintaining that this type of incident does not increase the public’s confidence in a fair and free election.
In another incident, before the official voting day, ballot boxes were stored at an African National Congress (ANC) party agent’s house in Springs East of Johannesburg. The IEC officials replaced the party agent after this incident. In KwaThema, on the East Rand of Gauteng, another two open ballot boxes inside a tent were discovered. An Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) spokesperson, Julius Mdluli, said this raised a cause for concern and that he would report the happening to IEC officials. Mdluli, a former ANC member before joining the new EFF party, said this incident was practiced by the ANC in previous elections. There has been no confirmation if this allegation is true and the ANC denied the claim.
Other political parties contesting the South Africa election have expressed their concern about the number of irregularities being reported before and during the election. The IEC confirmed an investigation into the irregularities during the 2014 South Africa election would be conducted. South Africa’s concerned citizens are expressing their outrage over the irregularities over social media channels.
By Laura Oneale