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Delay in poll results a possibility as IEC probes voter fraud claims

On Thursday, the commission announced that it has established an audit to check the extent of the problem after several objections were laid with the IEC over its supposedly indelible ink.

Chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo gives an update on the voting process at the national results operation centre in Pretoria. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – As the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) edges closer to concluding vote counting for the 2019 national elections, the commission has not ruled out the possibility of delays to the announcement of results due to investigations into possible voter fraud.

On Thursday, the commission announced that it has established an audit to check the extent of the problem after several objections were laid with the IEC over its supposedly indelible ink.

Several people have revealed that the ink, which is meant to serve as a security measure to prevent a person from voting again, was easy to wash off.

The IEC hasn’t indicated how long its investigation into possible voter fraud will take.

It hopes the outcome of the probe will confirm the commission’s confidence in the integrity of the polls.

IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo said: “It is important all of us as stakeholders we’re assured that there’s integrity in the process.”

Meanwhile, the commission has assured South Africans it will announce the final election results when it’s 100% confident of their integrity.

While the party awaits the outcome of the probes into voter fraud, it still has until Tuesday to declare the final results.

WATCH: IEC does not have proper systems to run elections - BLF

On Wednesday night, IEC commissioner Mosotho Moepya told Eyewitness News that while they acknowledged it may have been possible for some voters to cheat the system and vote twice, they had several systems to protect the integrity of the voting system.

But the commission seemed to have changed its tune later on Thursday.

Mamabolo said they would institute an official investigation into this double voting.

“The audit will cover a statistically representative sample of voting stations as well as all voting stations where complaints or allegations of double voting have been received. The final number and selection of the sample will be determined in conjunction with expert statisticians.”

He said the commission would also investigate if the ink used on voters’ thumbs had been easy to wash off.

“The investigation will be done in conjunction with the CSIR and with the full cooperation and support of the supplier. Approximately 200,000 pens were procured through the normal open tender process according to specifications set by the commission.”

He added that: "The audit will involve the capture of information showing the ID numbers of voters who cast votes at each voting station from the 'zip-zip' scanners and completed VEC 4 forms."

EWN reported on Thursday morning that the IEC was seeking answers from the company that sold it the ink, saying to their knowledge, it was not supposed to be removable.

Meanwhile, the commission said the results capture and verification process continued and assured South Africa that it would only announce results for elections where it was "100% confident in the integrity and legitimacy of those results".

By law, the Electoral Commission had seven days in which to announce the results of the elections.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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