A man drops his vote into a ballot box. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
A man drops his vote into a ballot box. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Special votes allegedly not counted after claims of ballot box tampering

By Rapula Moatshe Time of article published Nov 3, 2021

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Pretoria - Special votes cast on Saturday and Sunday at some polling stations in Waverley, Pretoria, were allegedly not counted because the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) believed the ballot boxes were tampered with.

The Pretoria News was told the exclusion of special votes from counting was made after IEC officials discovered that the number of ballot papers did not tally with the total recorded on Saturday and Sunday.

Some said the ballot boxes must have been tampered with where they were stored over the weekend.

“We have just been knocked off. We are done with the counting, but we didn’t count the special votes because the boxes were tampered with,” said a staff member yesterday.

Officials said they did not know what would happen to uncounted special votes, saying “perhaps the IEC could answer that question”.

Yesterday, the same officials in Waverley embarked on a protest for at least 30 minutes by closing the voting stations and not allowing people to vote.

They were aggrieved after the IEC allegedly failed to give them employment contracts before they started working. Officials also griped about the commission’s failure to provide them with food, forcing them to work on hungry stomachs for the better part of the day.

“Food was only delivered at 7pm, and it was one meal, and not two as per the initial agreement with the officials during training. Some of the staff were hungry and feeling dizzy and we had to close the stations from 6.30pm to 7pm,” one official said.

Angry voters, who were still in queues, accused the IEC of trying to deny them the right to vote.

The staff said contracts were brought to them in the evening, and they just signed them, but they could not read them properly.

Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo said: “The issue of Waverley and the exclusion of ballots from special votes has not come to our attention, but that type of decision is one that is within the purview of the commission. It is not a decision that a presiding officer and officials in a voting station can make. They need to be authorised for that.”

However, he was mum on the disappointment around the employment contracts that were brought to officials in the evening.

He did not respond to a question regarding officials who were forced to work on hungry stomachs. Mamobolo said the IEC employed between 185 000 and 190 000 officials: “They undergo training and subscribe to a particular code of conduct, but some do things that are untoward and when that happens the commission takes corrective action, which includes expelling them,” he said.

Pretoria News

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