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IEC needs to improve management of election day, say CT IEC volunteers

On election day Western Cape IEC head Courtney Sampson admitted they hadn't foreseen so many voters would cast ballots at stations where they were not registered.

IEC Western Cape head Courtney Sampson briefs the media at the Western Cape Results Centre on 9 May 2019. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Some officials and volunteers in Cape Town say the 2019 elections were badly run and the IEC needs to improve management.

The alleged chaos has been largely attributed to voters casting their ballots at a polling station where they were not registered.

On election day Western Cape IEC head Courtney Sampson admitted they hadn't foreseen so many voters would cast ballots at stations where they were not registered.

“We did not foresee that the use of the Section 24A applications was going to be of the nature that it was. For example, the Civic Centre there were 4,500 extra people coming to vote.”

This led to ballot paper shortages at some stations and a knock-on effect at others, which had a debilitating impact on staff on the ground.

An area manager in Cape Town told EWN he crashed his car while delivering ballot papers, due to sheer exhaustion.

Several volunteers who've worked during previous elections complained of working for more than 19 hours.

“This was the first year that there was just no support. I had a lot of papers to fill in through the course of the day for people from other stations.”

The IEC said it could not divulge employee/employer agreements, saying staff should report complaints to supervisors.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

Editors' note: The story has been changed to reflect a factual error. We earlier reported that the Section24A application had been implemented for the first time during the 2019 general elections. This was incorrect. The application has been in place since 2003.