IEC denies vote rigging claims and slams threats

 ·27 May 2024

The Electoral Commission (IEC) has issued clarification regarding videos circulating on social media that were claimed to show vote-rigging and subsequently slammed threats directed at the Commission’s staff.

Alleged “vote-rigging”

Over the weekend, videos of activities at the Commission’s storage sites in Chesterville and Hammersdale made the rounds on social media, where uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party members and supporters alleged that “vote rigging” of the general elections was in progress.

According to the IEC, these videos show logistical preparations and the secure storage of election materials and ballots, all part of the preparations for the initial day of special voting scheduled for Monday, May 27.

“We wish to clarify that the videos depict our planned logistical arrangements and storage of election materials as we prepare for the first day of special voting on 27 May 2024,” said the IEC.

“These are legitimate and authorised arrangements for the distribution of ballot papers and other bulk material,” added the commission.

Additionally, the Commission said that the individuals seen in the video “entered the warehouse without authorisation and filmed their unauthorised activities.”

The IEC said that planned security measures entails the police escorting ballot paper trucks to local sites, which will be guarded 24/7 to ensure protection against unauthorised access, burglary, and tampering, while maintaining strict control and record of all election materials in storage.

Currently, members of “MK are now at the [KwaZulu-Natal] provincial warehouse of the Commission where the ballots were returned… No party will be allowed to gain entry into the warehouse premises of the Commission [and] we instruct the leadership of MK party to immediately leave the warehouse,” said the IEC.

Threats directed to staff

Also over the weekend, an incident occurred in eThekwini where an IEC presiding officer was woken at home in the middle of the night by party representatives about bulk electoral material stored at the Baptist Church voting station in Chesterville.

“The Commission strongly condemns threats to its staff… no party nor its representatives have authority to gain access to private homes of electoral staff,” said the IEC.

“Worse, still no party nor its representatives may take control of election material without being authorised,” added the IEC.

Consequently, the Commission said that additional measures have been implemented to secure various storage sites across the country and assured that they are still in possession of all election materials shown in the social media videos.

“The Commission is contemplating measures against the party and the individuals involved as such obstruction to election activities should not be tolerated [as] this conduct violates the Code of Conduct and other electoral prescripts,” said the IEC.

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