Political parties lodge complaints with IEC about removable ink, other issues

The IEC admitted it couldn’t say with certainty that the ink placed on thumbs could not be removed.

FILE: A Langa resident gets her thumb marked before casting her vote on 8 May 2019. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

PRETORIA - Several political parties have confirmed to Eyewitness News that they have lodged objections with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), including one over the ink used to mark voters who've cast their ballots.

IEC deputy CEO Masego Sheburi conceded people could successfully interfere with the ink but added there were security measures to stop people cheating the system.

“A person who is determined to remove it will eventually remove it. There are people who have purposefully used chemicals to interfere with the ink and if you are determined enough, I suppose you can remove it. There are other safety measures like the voters’ roll at the stations because ultimately we must validate that you are registered and entitled to vote before you are allowed to vote,” Sheburi said.

The African Transformation Movement's Mzwanele Manyi claimed because the ink was removable some people could have voted twice. He also raised concerns around unregistered people voting.

“There’s one person in one of the voting stations that voted but this person was not registered, and we picked this up with the app.”

The United Democratic Movement's Thandi Nontenja also said the issue of the ink being removable was a concern for her party as there were no control measures in place.

“So, you can vote 100 times with your [ID] card.”

The IEC has reminded South Africans that removing the ink and trying to cast a second ballot is a criminal offence.

It said five objections had been raised and were being resolved behind closed doors.

Apart from that, a number of glitches were reported including a shortage of ballot papers and several polling stations that had not yet opened by 5pm.