How much do we trust the IEC?

Police were called in after a confrontation between MK Party members, and the IEC driver after ballot papers were delivered to Mpumalanga Library, in Hammarsdale. Picture: Noluthando Dlamini

Police were called in after a confrontation between MK Party members, and the IEC driver after ballot papers were delivered to Mpumalanga Library, in Hammarsdale. Picture: Noluthando Dlamini

Published May 27, 2024


The uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) has raised concerns following what they called alleged rigging attempts at the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) storage in KwaZulu-Natal.

MKP members on Sunday said there was a suspected vote rigging method at play at the facility.

Also on Sunday, South Africans took to social media platforms to express concern over whether the upcoming general elections would be free and fair following the incident in KZN. It was later established that this was a storage site of the IEC.

Videos by supporters of the MKP have been making the rounds on X and TikTok alleging that “vote rigging” is in progress. The videos relate to activities at the storage sites of the IEC in Chesterville and Hammarsdale in KZN.

In the first video in an IEC storage facility in KZN, people wearing MKP regalia are seen complaining and asking questions about the ballots being delivered at the venue. Police in uniform are later seen collecting the black boxes and placing them in a truck. It looked like they were taking them to a safe place.

“This series of events points to a systemic problem that not only threatens the democratic fabric of our nation but affirms the MK Party’s long-held view that the IEC is partisan towards Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC by allowing the rigging of elections, including in the 2019 elections when Ramaphosa was controversially elected as president.

“These incidents, which our members informed us, which are occurring in other provinces such as Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, and North-West, are particularly alarming as they compound the growing distrust amongst a majority of South Africans towards the IEC - a view which the MK Party has repeatedly raised,” said MKP spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndlela.

He further said: “The IEC’s relentless collusion with the Concourt judges to have Zuma barred from participating in parliamentary elections — an action beyond its mandate — exemplifies its increasingly partisan stance against MKP and Zuma, for Ramaphosa and his ANC.

“This alleged glaring electoral rigging, which the IEC seems to be turning a blind eye to or is complicit in, cannot be ignored by the MKP since not only does it undermine our democracy, but it also poses a significant risk to the integrity of the elections and the possible political instability such election fraud may cause as seen in many other countries.”

Police were called after a confrontation between MK Party members, and the IEC driver after ballot papers were delivered to Mpumalanga Library, in Hammarsdale, on Saturday evening. | NOLUTHANDO DLAMINI

Ndlela confirmed that the party intends writing a formal letter to the IEC to respond to these serious and dangerous allegations.

Registered voters will cast special votes on Monday and on Tuesday, and eligible voters will cast their ballots on Wednesday.

About 27 million registered voters will elect lawmakers for the 400-member Parliament and provincial legislatures.

This is one of the most hotly contested elections since 1994, with a total of 70 registered political parties, including independent candidates, taking part.

All eyes will be on the ANC, which has been at the helm of power for 30 years, followed by opposition parties such as DA, EFF, IFP, ActionSA, the new MKP, the Patriotic Alliance, and more.

The IEC said it noted with great concern incidents that had occurred in KZN.

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

“The planned security measures were that the trucks distributing ballot papers are escorted by SAPS to the local storage site. These storage sites will then be guarded on a 24-hours basis. This arrangement would ensure that the storage sites are protected against unauthorised entry, burglary, and tampering with election materials and ensure detailed control and recording of all items in storage,” said IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela.

She said the IEC had also noted another incident in eThekwini where a presiding officer was woken up at home in the middle of the night about bulk material stored at the Baptist Church voting station in Chesterville.

“This bulk electoral material was taken to Cato Manor police station in eThekwini, in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Bapela.

She said the commission strongly condemned threats to its staff.

“No party nor its representatives have authority to gain access to private homes of electoral staff. Worse still, no party nor its representatives may take control of election material without being authorised. We want to assure the public that additional measures have been implemented to secure these various storage sites across the country,” Bapela said.

Despite the latest incident, there had been allegations suggesting that the ANC was in bed with the IEC.

Earlier this month, IEC’s top officials met with US Ambassador Reuben Brigety, which raised eyebrows.

This drew criticism from some circles that the US was apparently influencing the outcome of the polls.

Then, IEC said there was nothing wrong in meeting Brigety. It said it also met with European Union and Latin American ambassadors on the same basis to assure them they were holding credible elections.

Bapela was asked to comment about the allegations about IEC and the ANC, she referred The Star to the IEC website.

“On our website, we have statements that have dealt with issues you raised,” Bapela said.

ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Motsiri-Bhengu did not respond to the allegations.

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe from University of Zululand said he believe that the systems the IEC has put in place will not tolerate any possibility of voter fraud.