Level up: After 2 decades, IEC ditches zip-zip machines in favour of VMDs

The 40,000 new voter management devices (VMDs) will be able to conduct live verifications against the population register.

The new Voter Management Device that will be used to improve data capturing of voters for elections in South Africa. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The IEC has confirmed that it has finally retired its zip-zip machines in favour of new technology.

The machines were in the news in 2019 when there were claims that some people managed to vote twice.

Social distancing and sanitisers won't be the only new features that voters will encounter in their polling stations on Monday.

The IEC has finally, after two decades, retired the old zip-zip machines and replaced them with voter management devices, also referred to as VMDs.

The IEC's Sy Mamabolo said that they were ready to be put into use.

"VMDs will be used to record the opening and closing of voting stations, monitor ballot paper usage, as well as capture addresses of those 1.2 million residual voters for whom we still don't have an address. We are excited about the use of this new technology as it will strengthen controls and improve efficiencies at all levels of the voting process."

The 40,000 new machines will be able to conduct live verifications against the population register.

Mamabolo also said that the fact that voters could only vote in the district where they were registered provided an extra layer of security to prevent voter fraud.

More than 26 million voters have registered for this year's local government elections.

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