Listed: The grievances of smaller parties as they threaten to take IEC to court

Twenty-seven parties served the commission with a lawyer’s letter giving it until Saturday morning to respond to their demands.

FILE: A voter placing her marked ballots into the local and national ballot boxes on 8 May 2019. Picture: Eyewitness News.

PRETORIA – As vote counting passed the 95% mark by 7pm on Friday evening, 27 smaller parties that were contesting the 2019 general elections had filed numerous complaints with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

They even served the commission with a lawyer’s letter giving it until Saturday morning to respond to those demands.

Front National leader Daniel Lötter said: “Where the figures on the board represent less than your enrolled membership and you get to a point where you, as a political leader, know full well where you voted and when you look at that VD (voting district), it shows zero for your political party. I’m starting to question the numbers.”

Lötter’s party, Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s African Content Movement and Nana Ngobese’s Women Forward are among the 27 parties that served the IEC with the "extremely urgent" lawyer’s letter.

The IEC had already launched an audit into the issues raised.

Below are their grievances:

Multiple voting

Concerns about citizens being able to vote twice first came to light on Wednesday during the elections when pictures and videos of people voting twice or their proof of voting twice started circulating on social media. The parties said people accused and arrested for those offences were likely victims of political bullying.

Voting stations opening late/ballot papers shortage

On Wednesday, the IEC confirmed that by 5pm in the evening, five voting stations had still not opened. The parties said one station didn’t open at all. They further added that some stations complained about the shortage of ballot papers with people asked to come back later in some instances.

Removable ink

South Africans took to social media on Wednesday, posting pictures and videos showing how easy it was to remove the ink mark on their thumbs proving they had voted.

Scanners not working

In the lawyer’s letter, the smaller parties raised the issue of broken scanners and no scanners available at all in some stations. They said that led to the IEC not being able to determine whether the voter was really registered and whether that voter had already voted at another station.

Ballot papers not stamped

The parties said that resulted in one voter receiving more than one national and/or provincial ballot paper; they also said presiding officers accepted these unstamped ballot papers.

Altered voters’ roll

The parties said that allowed unregistered voters to cast ballots because the verified voters’ roll was altered between the certification date and 8 May, election day.

With all those issues now in the hands of the IEC to deal with, the parties said should the commission not agree to an “independent audit, we hold instruction to approach the Electoral Court… in order to compel the commission to appoint an independent audit firm to conduct an audit of the elections and to refrain declaring the outcome of the election”.

The commission was yet to respond to their demands.