Under half-a-million spoilt votes

2011-05-19 15:26

Pretoria - Just under 500 000 votes were spoilt in the 2011 municipal elections, according to results released by the Independent Electoral Commission by 15:00 on Thursday.

Nationally, a total of 451 979 votes were spoilt, the majority of which were in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

Earlier, Cope acting deputy secretary-general Lyndall Shope-Mafole said those who did not vote in the municipal election, including former Cope co-founder Mbhazima Shilowa, should not complain about service delivery.

"Any citizen who waived their right and responsibility to vote does not care about the future of this country," she told Sapa.

"They have no right to complain when service delivery is not met."

  • HappyLoner - 2011-05-19 15:29

    What exactly makes a vote out to be "spoilt"... A cross next to the opponent's name?

      RVQ - 2011-05-19 15:32

      I know part of it is the stamp on the back, no stamp = no vote.

      kyle.lindeque - 2011-05-19 15:33

      Crossing more than one block. Crossing over a block. Crossing into another block. Not making any mark. Ballot which appear to be fake, ie: not stamped with IEC marker, or does not contain verification strip. And a few other things too

      REVO - 2011-05-19 15:41

      Exactly ......Well put Kyle.

      edvermaak - 2011-05-19 15:48

      The MOST spoilt vote is one for ANC. The vote counts for the election, but results in ZERO service delivery. I call that spoilt...

      camp.j - 2011-05-19 15:50

      A cross next to DA? :)

      Ruaan - 2011-05-19 15:51

      "spoilt"....some folks didn't vote.....that's a spoilt vote

      Judgmental - 2011-05-19 15:58

      Well I put a cross next to all the guys I didn't like and put a tick next to the ones I did like

      Judgmental - 2011-05-20 07:00

      It looks like 12 people have a sense of humor failure

  • The Unknown - 2011-05-19 15:29

    Spoilt? In what way, and who verfies these? Sounds like another ANC cheap trick

      Colourblind - 2011-05-19 15:33

      Putting a cross in all boxes or in multiple boxes.

      REVO - 2011-05-19 15:40

      Please IEC is more trustworthy than your bank manager!!!

      gksa - 2011-05-19 15:41

      Party representatives observe the counting process, so it would be quite difficult to fool around with ballots during counting. The danger zone is usually before or during voting...

      The Unknown - 2011-05-19 15:56

      REVO, look at them, and tell me honestly that you believe that crap that you spew

      Msotjovitjo - 2011-05-19 16:07

      There should be party agents who ensure that elections are fair fool... ANC cannot trick, vote for your party and stop hating...

  • Barry - 2011-05-19 15:31

    This happens when the stupid masses vote

      Psalm - 2011-05-19 15:44

      @ Barry No, it is also a well-know form of protest by voters to show that none of the parties/candidates are worth their vote. Don't be so quick to throw insults at the "masses" that you seem to despise so thoroughly.

      MM - 2011-05-19 15:50

      I dont think there is always a need to stoop to such levels to make your point...

      justjulles - 2011-05-19 15:56

      You know Barry.... its stupid comments like yours that do this country no good..

      Ntabozuko - 2011-05-19 15:59

      You sound massively stupid yourself. Was that necessary?

      Colourblind - 2011-05-19 16:11

      Nothing to do with stupidity. It is a legitimate (and powerful) form of protest.

      I'am - 2011-05-19 17:39

      Even if an intelligent minority did somehow exist Barry wouldn't be part of it.

  • smahlaba - 2011-05-19 15:32

    People sometimes spoil their votes to show dissatisfication with their own parties. It's not a cheap trick by any party.

  • krl777 - 2011-05-19 15:33

    Very funny that it is only in Gauteng and Eastern Cape? Hotly contested areas.

      gksa - 2011-05-19 15:42

      Exactly. Some of these ballots would be from people who didn't quite feel up to it to vote for a different party than their usual choice, yet wanted to show their dissatisfaction - and not by merely staying away.

      Toohotdurban - 2011-05-19 15:50

      ...goes to show where the illiterate are..gauteng have the bucks no no brain ... ha...ha

      Zinki - 2011-05-19 15:54

      You must remember that the Eastern Cape area has the highest concentration of illiterate people. They are obviously not taught how to draw a cross properly or how to vote correctly. Many of these people are from deep rural areas in the old homelands and never got far in school.

      DW - 2011-05-19 16:00

      Zinki, you may be right. But what about Gauteng? The inroads into the ANc in Eastern Cape is massive. Maybe this is why the ANC moved so many people to Western Cape - to reduce the dissatisfied people in EC. Didnt work, though, as it seems they voted for DA in WC too

  • n s - 2011-05-19 15:34

    lol, what a stupid comment, so the people who voted can now expect service delivery?

      Amico - 2011-05-19 16:00

      I'm also suprised to hear such a comment from someone who's a secretary-general of a party. I thought COPE understood what we mean by human rights.Those who did not vote had a right to do so if they felt they trusted no party would deliver what they needed.

      Kay - 2011-05-19 16:08

      It means the people who voted now have the right to carry on complaining about service delivery...

  • ?????? - 2011-05-19 15:34

    Why stand in a line and spoil your ballot? Couldnt they just stay at home rather or are they trying to make someone take notice of the point they are making? Half a million is a HUGE number considering voter turnout was low.

      Doublepost - 2011-05-19 15:42

      It is to make that point. Disillusionment with the current political establishment. This is great, hopefully more will be spoilt next time! Think of it this way, a spoilt ballot is a vote for a party that wasn't on that list. Half a million is a good start, half a million people will grow to include many, many more. And Lyndall Shope-Mafole is nothing but a "political" trollop! I don't give a fudging fudge what she thinks and will continue to spoil my ballot until such a time as politicians are required to tell the truth on penalty of death!

      gksa - 2011-05-19 15:43

      It's a stronger statement.

      gksa - 2011-05-19 15:44

      Though voting for a different party would be an even stronger statement, but... well.

      hey-mr-wat-u - 2011-05-20 08:38

      @Doublepost your point is idiotic. spoiling your vote is like refusing to eat stale bread and going outside in the rain to eat the dogs kak. if it wasnt for the dumbass hardnosed idiots hanging around waiting for someone to hear their tiny shouts of no confidence the ANC would have actually felt some pressure this time around. Parties need to have a little fear put in them to perform and the best way to do that is to supply some competition. i cant believe someone could be dumbass enough to stand in line, wasting my time, to spoil a vote purposely and honestly believe that tiny little fart in a thunderstorm will do any good. Is this some kinda passive resistance? voting is passive resistance!

  • Ross - 2011-05-19 15:37

    Such a shame. And to think they could have been used to get rid of the ANC.

  • Albo - 2011-05-19 15:38

    One of them was Juju. He thought is was a colouring in competition.

      Barry - 2011-05-19 15:42


      Spoofed - 2011-05-19 15:46


      Valis - 2011-05-19 15:59


      ANC Ancestor - 2011-05-19 16:08

      Thank goodness, rather that than a woodwork competition

      Ntabozuko - 2011-05-19 16:10

      Hahahahaha...that is funny...

  • Zet007 - 2011-05-19 15:38

    Why is it taking so long to count all the votes?

      Doublepost - 2011-05-19 15:45

      Eish! one, twooo, three...eish! Hau! one, eh, twoo, three...haiybo!! Eish!!

      gekko - 2011-05-19 15:51

      @Doublepost...Needed that laugh before i go home!Classic!

      Colourblind - 2011-05-19 15:58

      I thought they were doing quite well. Counting should be done by tonight. 24 hours isn't bad at all.

      Kay - 2011-05-19 16:16

      Next time they should just cut the cr*p and have us vote via sms like they do on Idols. Maybe then when they botch-up the counting we can have 2 presidents! Another world first :P

  • Audacious - 2011-05-19 15:38

    The implications are serious. Could it be IEC complicity? It makes me suspicious. e.g. If you saw that the vote was not for a party of your choice, would they be able to sommer place an x next to another candidate/ party just to sploil the vote? Just a thought.

      gksa - 2011-05-19 15:45

      The lack of stamps are an area of concern. Apparently that is quite widespread. It makes one wonder how many times an official "forgets" to stamp a ballot...

      gksa - 2011-05-19 15:46

      But it would be difficult for a person counting to spoil a ballot after the fact, since they are being observed by party representatives...

      ANC Ancestor - 2011-05-19 16:10

      Their were quite a few stories of unstamped ballots doing the rounds before the elections. Nice little tactic for the ANC to use to ensure they cling to power in hotly contested areas.

  • Rob Gunning - 2011-05-19 15:38

    Lyndall - I agree 100%

  • sbriedenhann - 2011-05-19 15:39

    I quite agree with Ms Shope-Mafole. Anyone who doesn't bother voting shouldn't bother complaining either.

      Psalm - 2011-05-19 15:48

      That is a saying that holds no logic. To vote merely for the sake of voting, even when you are faced with nothing but pathetic alternatives is irresponsible.

      Doublepost - 2011-05-19 15:53

      Well first you need to realise that it is actually a vote, a vote of no confidence! Once you get past that you will suddenly see that there are actually many more "votes" that do not include putting an X anywhere! Many special votes, such as voting with your feet or voting with your skills and leaving this country for places that are safer. Stop trying to put everything into nice little neat boxes. That's what little kiddies do! Are you a little kiddie? Realise that not everyone thinks like you do and that freedom is actually the ability to NOT VOTE or SPOIL your ballot if you damn well please! And continue to complain about the current political sham that is "Democracy" in South Africa, soon to be South Zimbabwe!

      Genie - 2011-05-19 17:00

      @Doublepost u make no sense! Really, how would this be different from having to clean up your own house? Would you really sit and complain every single day about what a dirty house you have, if you arent moving your lazy apathetic ass and cleaning it yourself? This logic defies common sense. And to the millions that did not vote or purposely destroyed their vote, they really have given up their right to complain. If you are disillusioned with what is presented to you, get of your lazy ass and do something about it. If some "pothead" can start a dagga party and get 200 votes, you too with your attitude could change something in this beautiful democracy we have. Not voting is not an option! It is an excuse for laziness!

      Doublepost - 2011-05-19 18:38

      Genie, huh?! You speaking gibberish about houses and toilets again?! Are you perhaps an ANC genie that has lost the power to deliver on the wishes of the masses? Just for your interest, I get up and work everyday. I study in the evenings and do all my own cooking and cleaning. I don't employ a maid or a gardener. I will say it again, for your incredibly small mind to comprehend. "I SPOILT my vote!" You get that, right?! That means I got up like the rest of you and purposefully drew lines across both my ballot papers and put N/A next to every single party on those sheets of paper! You need to get your head examined! Can you not tell the difference between, NOT VOTING and spoiling a ballot paper?! Why can't you understand?! It's like bashing my head against a brick wall!

  • Julian - 2011-05-19 15:39

    They up to theirs tricks again

  • MarkyMark_lnx - 2011-05-19 15:39

    “To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.” -- Louis L'Amour

  • OuWitBooi - 2011-05-19 15:40

    This a very high percentage of spoilt votes by international standards. It takes a lot of dedication to go to all the trouble of voting only to deliberately spoil the paper. This indicates either a very high level of dissatisfaction with the available choices, or it indicates a very high level of illiteracy and incompetence to fill in a ballot paper correctly. Probably a bit of both in this case.

      regularguy - 2011-05-19 15:54

      To that I agree. Yes, it might be that a certain precentage of voters wanted to air their unhappyness but also it might be voter education that are not up to speed. in all cases I do hope that all parties involved dont use this 500 000 to cry over lost munisipalities but that they see this as their duty to make sure that their supporters know what to do next time. Sorry for the spelling mistakes.. I am actually an Afrikaanse boertjie lol

      gertie - 2011-05-19 17:10

      Is it a high percentage??? SA population is in the high 40 million, more than half is above 18, they said 40% came to vote, thus the spoilt vote percentage comes to around 6% (0.5mil)/(40mil/2*40%). Taken into account a good percentage of illiteracy - I think it went well.

  • Zanu - 2011-05-19 15:40

    Imagine a South Africa where the ANC would have invested in education... a South Africa with around 2million more educated citizens who have already left our shores. The ANC knows what they doing: 1) keep education to a minimum so the masses continue to vote for you, 2) keep crime sky high to get rid of potential DA votes who would emigrate out of fear. Would be nice to see a real free and fair election that includes South Africans living all over the world... a truly democratic election like in 1994. A strong democracy needs a strong opposition...FACT

  • The Stig - 2011-05-19 15:41

    I smell a rat here, so a person can vote for DA and when they counting someone can put a cross next to any party to make spoiled!!! Interesting more especially the hotly contested EC and Gauteng.?

      MissRed - 2011-05-19 15:53

      Well is'nt that a gr8, statment!!!!! Makes u think.......the 2 most fought over Provence's!!

  • Woodworkclas - 2011-05-19 15:41

    IEC food spilt on it

  • dgee - 2011-05-19 15:43

    Thats a huge amount of votes!! Dont tell me half a million people stood in queues for that. Sounds fishy that its mainly in the two highly contested areas too!! I hope that the IEC investigates this. I hope I wish o sigh!!

  • Honest_John - 2011-05-19 15:43

    The constitution of this great country of ours clearly states that I'm well within my rights to complain even if I've made the decision not to vote! Voting could be useful, if South African politics wasn't just an expression of race based interests. The election is like a football game at a picnic, the result doesn't matter.

      IamJ - 2011-05-19 16:18

      @Honest_John - I'd like to see where in the constitution it says that you can complain even if you don't vote. By not voting, you are not participating in the future of the country. By electively spoiling their vote a person is making a statement (that they are not happy with the selected candidates/parties, etc.), but by not voting, a person is just lumped in with all those other masses too lazy or disinterested to go and stand in a queue for an hour or so, and their not voting stands for nothing. It is like standing on the side-lines of your football game and complaining about how the rest of the players aren't doing a good enough job. If you want to have a voice (to complain or not), you have to participate.

  • mystae - 2011-05-19 15:43

    The IEC has done a very poor job of educating people in terms of the voting process. Personally, I am extremely disappointed in them. If you think about the actual number of voters versus the spoilt ballets, it's quite a substantial amount of voices that weren't heard, irrespective of who they voted for.

  • cj.venter - 2011-05-19 15:44

    We live in the digital age. why can't they use finger print scanners alongside id scanners and we can all make out X on an ipad linked to a mainframe? i'm pretty sure it will minimise the "spoilt" vote bullshit.

      Ruaan - 2011-05-19 16:00

      as well as give the correct numbers (eish....what comes after three?) and a quick count as to who has won where.

  • robertmanthe1 - 2011-05-19 15:44

    I think I spoilt my vote. I made the mark in the right place, but under the ANC emblem I wrote, "Juju gobbles cocks." I shouldn't vote with such emotion next time.

  • Vicker - 2011-05-19 15:45

    Very suspicious, specially considering in what provinces the majority of these come from... I smell a big F*****G RAT...

  • Fredster69 - 2011-05-19 15:45

    "Any citizen who waived their right and responsibility to vote does not care about the future of this country," - Same being said about corrupt MP's?

  • Muzi - 2011-05-19 15:47

    I was a party agent monitoring vote counting this morning. Most spoilt votes are reported by the voter to the party agents and the presiding officer and the voter gets given another ballot. The spoilt votes are scrutinized by all party agent lead by IEC presiding officer. But some voters are too shy to say i ticked a wrong box, please give me another ballot. They scratch the wrong box and make another cross - that becomes another spoilt vote. In some cases you can see that a person spoilt the ballot intentionally (I don't understand why u would stand in a que for an hour to draw faces next to political parties). At the end of counting all spoilt votes (mistakes and intentionals) are reconciled to a single number of spoilt votes. So, the number of spoilt votes does not necessarily reflect a number of "lost votes". I think IEC should separate stats for intentionally spoilt votes and ballots that were re-issued so we can have a clear picture of how many people want to counted as "Not Voted Intentionally". So, stop speculating guys, educate yourself and strenghten our democracy.

      Wynand - 2011-05-19 15:58

      I agree!

  • - 2011-05-19 15:48

    It is an extremely difficult task to make an x next to the party of your choice if your brain has been taken over by all the political balderdash the ANC spews forth! Seriously, did any of you see the people "signing" for their ID documents that were miraculously printed in time for the elections and then delivered nogal! Some of these people had to be shown how to make a cross on the dotted line! And those who are going to blame apartheid... stop beating a dead horse!

      Colourblind - 2011-05-19 16:02

      Many of these were intentional spoils in areas where the voters were unhappy with the ward candidates they were assigned (and not elected). It is a legitimate, proud and civil form of protest. Much more so than demonstrating IMO. Give these people some credit and stop assuming they are illiterate idiots. Many of them aren't.

  • crocoros - 2011-05-19 15:53

    What do you mean don't complain. Who listens anyway. The ANC? ha ha ha hahahahahahahahahah please don't make laugh. You really do have a short memory Amos Masondo was the worst nightmare

  • adrian.marnewick - 2011-05-19 15:53

    Love and agree with this statement: "Any citizen who waived their right and responsibility to vote does not care about the future of this country," she told Sapa.

  • Amanzimtoti - 2011-05-19 15:56

    Lyndall Shope-Mafole can shove my vote up her fat ass... that's the only way it'll get anywhere near COPE :)

  • HowardX - 2011-05-19 15:57

    This is an abnormally huge percentage of spoilt ballots - very odd, makes on wonder... Was this out of protest, stupidity or is something else going on here?

  • Matt - 2011-05-19 15:57

    Has anyone noticed that Jacob Zuma's home municipality voted IFP - even his own people hate him...

  • Garreth - 2011-05-19 16:00

    In fairness I dont think all of them were spoilt on purpose. We still have a huge problem with uneducated people who probably ticked over the symbol of the party rather than the actual place where youre supposed to put your mark.

      Colourblind - 2011-05-19 16:29

      Very possible as well, but there have also been coordinated campaigns to spoil votes en masse in areas where people were unsatisfied with their ward candidates. This explains the concentration of spoiled votes in certain areas.

  • stukyster - 2011-05-19 16:00

    Wow @ most of these comments. It's not that difficult to understand: ANC supporters that are fed up with the ANC are making their voices heard by spoiling their ballots.

  • Sharief - 2011-05-19 16:02

    so the people who voted are allowed to complain about service delivery then????i thaught goverment is supposed to sort out the problem,so no vote no complain,vote and u still get no service delivery but you are allowed to complain...our goverment and all the other political parties dont do anything for this country anyway

  • MalKoei - 2011-05-19 16:03

    Everyone has a right to complain when service delivery is not met. Whether you voted or not. Paying rates & Taxes should firstly be the qualifing criteria to vote and not the other way arround. If the non voters can't complain neighter can non payers.

  • Mlungu - 2011-05-19 16:08

    Amen to that! if you don't vote you don't care. If you don't care you are not a patriot.

      Doublepost - 2011-05-19 16:22

      A patriot is someone who has a love for their country that it is so strong they would lay down their life in service of their country. It has got zero to do with voting. I can love my country but hate my government and the governance systems that are in place. You cannot place people into definitions and think you are right. Your very scenario creates a us versus them game which is not what freedom is about. If you truly valued your freedoms you would understand that.

  • Mlungu - 2011-05-19 16:09

    Amen to that, if you were a patriot you would have voted. I love this country!!!

  • HAPPYGUY5 - 2011-05-19 16:18

    The majority of "spoilt" votes in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.....surprise surprise, the ruling party are proud that they won these areas, now for more shabby service delivery, which I may add, includes education and in specific, voter education, rock on ANC, the true vision is lost for ever, Madiba was and is still the peoples leader, I think he is hanging his head in shame, his vision is been tortured and ruined by greedy, power hungry thugs, better known as politicians....rock on ANC, alienate more people, Eastern Cape is bankrupt, lets see if you can really kill it altogether now, Gauteng the dirty city, yes let it go to the dogs, Rock on ANC, I was one of your former voters, you have lost the plot, you have deserted the people...I have found a new political home...thank you DA for listening. providing and caring! YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!!

  • kilo39 - 2011-05-19 16:20

    There will always be undereducated (and poor) people....hence the number of spoiled papers .....get used to it. The challenge for any Government is to ensure the environment and the conditions are conducive to the people working and supporting themselves. More creative ways of issueing handouts and robbing Peter to pay Paul is not the answer. Instead I suggest that if the masses are educated and empowered to make informed 'family' decisions and given access to the required logistics, that a sensible point of departure would be a vibrant and pro-active 'family planning' initiative being introduced by the state. 200 people for 100 jobs makes a helluva lot more sense than 2000 people for 100 jobs. The answer cannot be only to 'create more jobs', because to expect any measure of sustainability is illogical. Quantity at the expense of Quality ???

  • ANC4LIFE - 2011-05-19 16:35

    2 third majority once again!!Truth be told,we need to word harder to reach the 80 % mark.It can be done,it will be done.Long Live ANC.DA stay six feet under.

  • alex.cobain - 2011-05-19 17:16


  • - 2011-05-19 17:31

    @ Colourblind... Seems rather silly to me to make the effort to go and vote and then intentionally spoil your vote in protest because you do'nt like your councellor! A spoiled vote is a spoiled vote, it does nothing to better the situation.

      Colourblind - 2011-05-19 18:26

      Simply staying away will be considered apathy and general disinterest. Voting for another party hurts your own party twice over (a loss for yours and a gain for the opposition). Spoiling your vote makes a statement. It shows that you are willing to participate in the electoral process (even stand in queues) and am not happy the choices your party are presenting you with. IMO it is the strongest form of protest available in a democratic society, but hey, that's just me. :)

  • Chris - 2011-05-19 20:28

    How do you get 500000 spoilt votes? How do you muck up making an X on a piece of paper ??????

      Jacob Zuma - 2011-05-19 20:52

      If those people could read and write properly, the ANC would have lost their vote in any case.

  • York Hunt - 2011-05-20 07:52

    Those who voted for the ANC mustn't complain about service delivery or the lack thereof.

  • george07 - 2011-05-20 21:13

    there are obviously a lot of problems with the whole voting process.maybe doing a more thorough check of the people they employ , (eg . the training of how to capture the results,) or how to operate a laptop.

  • schmerz - 2011-05-25 12:12

    "those who did not vote in the municipal election ... should not complain about service delivery" Ok, then why do I pay taxes. You make it sound like my vote will pay for it. What do you think the uneducated expect?

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