More threats of court action from small parties, who have earned around 400 000 votes collectively

2019-05-10 18:54
IEC voting station. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
(Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

A lawyer's letter sent to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) by a group of smaller parties has alleged the elections were not free nor credible.

News24 has seen the letter, sent to the IEC on Friday, which seeks to emphasise official objections lodged by the same parties with the IEC.

The letter also gives the IEC a deadline of 11:00 on Saturday to appoint an independent audit firm to review the results.

If the IEC refuses to do so, the letter sets out that the attorneys would approach the Electoral Court to seek an order compelling the IEC to appoint an auditor and furthermore interdict the IEC from declaring the outcome of the election.

The letter sets out the reasons why the parties do not believe the 2019 election was free and fair as a result of "various irregularities" including:

  • Instances of persons who voted multiple times;
  • Voting stations opened late, and one not at all;
  • Voting stations running out of ballot papers, with voters being asked to come back later;
  • Many indelible ink pens not working and being rubbed off easily;
  • Scanners at voting districts not working.

The parties charge that these issues would make it impossible for the IEC to determine whether a voter had already voted, whether the voters were actually registered and which province the person was registered in.

The parties also complained of some voters being handed "different configurations" of ballot papers and that unmarked ballot papers were accepted by presiding officers.

The number of spoiled votes, which was 215 948 at around 5pm on Friday, was also of concern to the parties.

The concerns raised prompted the IEC to announce it would be conducting its own audit. This, the group of small parties said, was not acceptable.

"We confirm that our clients are not satisfied with the fact that the IEC is indeed the party conducting an audit in this matter," the letter reads.

"Our clients accordingly are of the view that the IEC is compromised insofar as the objectivity of any audit processes concerned and therefore we hereby demand that the IEC, by 11am on 11 May 2019, appoints an independent audit firm to conduct the audit."

The IEC has not yet responded publicly to the concerns raised by the smaller parties.

According to the letter the Forum 4 Service Delivery, African Content Movement, International Revelation Congress, African People's Convention, Ecoforum, Better Residents Association, CPM, South African National Congress of Traditional Authorities, Women Forward, Land Party, African Transformation Movement, PAU, SRWP, Alliance for Transformation, Cope, African Renaissance Unity, African Security Congress, SANCOTA, AASD, Compatriots of South Africa, NPA, IRC, NAPF, NFP, PAC, PRM and African Covenant are the parties lodging the complaint.

Collectively these parties had just under 400 000 votes, compared to 15.7 million votes cast.

Mzwanele Manyi's ATM was leading the charge of small parties with 71 661 votes, beating out established parties such as Cope (42 798) and the NFP (57 535).

Find everything you need to know about the 2019 National and Provincial Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections. Make sure your News24 app is updated to access all our elections coverage in one place.

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