Parties allowed to set up shop near voting stations – IEC

2014-05-07 16:27

There is nothing untoward about political parties setting up shop near voting stations even though parties are not allowed to canvass around polling stations on voting day, deputy Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Terry Tselane has said.

Tselane was speaking to City Press at the IEC results centre this afternoon after scores of voters complained on social networks about parties “illegally” setting up tables and tents near polling stations and distributing party T-shirts.

Tselane said the IEC was generally happy with the manner in which parties had conducted themselves so far and assured the public that the parties that had set up shop near voting stations were not breaking the electoral code of conduct.

“There is no campaigning allowed near voting stations at all on voting day, but we have come to an agreement with parties to allow them to set up tables and help voters check their names on the voters’ roll before they enter the voting station.

“Obviously, not all parties have the capacity to set up tables and have their party agents in all 22 000 voting stations. So you will find that the DA and the ANC have that capacity and that is why you mostly see them there. They are not breaking the law,” said Tselane.

He said if anyone had “concrete” evidence of a political party canvassing near a polling station, they should report the matter to the IEC.

Tselane said the IEC had received numerous complaints today, but these were “minor” administrative issues that the IEC had swiftly dealt with.

Some of the complaints included the lack of ID scanners and long queues at polling stations.

“We’re happy with the way we’re responding to the complaints, but these are minor administrative complaints which are swiftly dealt with,” said Tselane.

But the IEC was concerned about community protests that have delayed voting in some areas including Maruleng in Limpopo, Gugulethu in Springs on the East Rand, Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape, Botshabelo in the Free State and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape.

Read: Slow start to voting in Maruleng after roads blocked

“We’re doing everything we can to engage with communities and hope that the protests won’t disrupt the voting process. In areas like Bekkersdal, we had problems initially but the situation has returned to normal,” said Tselane.

City Press reported earlier today that members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the ANC had a disagreement outside the Seshego polling station where EFF leader Julius Malema had cast his vote.

The EFF had accused the ANC of canvassing for votes after the ANC set up a table distributing party T-shirts near the Mponegele Primary School polling station in Seshego’s Zone 1.

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