Marked election ballot papers which had the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) stamp were found abandoned in Brewery Lane by a resident on Thursday morning.
The resident, who preferred not be identified, said the ballot papers were scattered on the ground at around 7am. She had decided to pick them up and had brought them to The Rep offices. The 20 ballot papers were marked next to logos of different political parties including the Democratic Alliance (DA), United Democratic Movement (UDM), African Transformation Movement (ATM) and most with votes for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
In response to the mysterious discovery, EFF councillor Luthando Amos directed his disappointment towards the IEC, questioning the body’s procedural conduct. “How do they get an accurate count with so many lost EFF votes? We are disappointed with their recklessness. We do not expect to see such things because this shows that there are no control measures in the IEC and we can now say they are corrupt and working with the African National Congress (ANC). With the ANC declaring to have maintained their votes and doing well in the polls in the Enoch Mgijima and Chris Hani District municipalities, this explains exactly why their support did not decrease. I think they co-operated in stealing votes from the EFF because they know that the party is growing on a daily basis, which is why we see such scams. Someone needs to be held accountable and this is something we should take up with the IEC. If we have to go back to the electoral court then so be it. This is proof enough that these elections were rigged.”
UDM councillor Mthuthuzeli Hokolo also expressed his disappointment at the finding. “We need to form a commission of enquiry to investigate this matter, together with political parties and the IEC. We need to find out where these ballot papers came from. We regard the IEC as a professional body so we are disappointed to hear this information. Further investigations are required,” he said.
United Front councillor Aaron Mhlontlo said he was shocked and indicated that he did not recall any report or dispute declaring questions of irregularities at the elections. “It is rare to find that, three weeks after the election, a discovery of this nature arises. No one knows if the person who claims to have picked up the ballot papers was an official of the IEC. In such instances, it is not easy to comment or accuse certain individuals,” said Mhlonto.
ANC regional secretary Lusanda Sizani said the ANC was a political organisation which had contested in the provincial and national elections. He indicated that the party had no views to share regarding the discovery. “We have nothing to do with the picked up ballot papers. Questions should be directed to the IEC,” he said.
DA councillor Zuko Mandile said the matter clearly proved that the elections were not ‘fair and square’. “As you may know, our political party had lodged a complaint nationally over election irregularities. This is a clear case that there were definite irregularities and it proves that democracy is still not where it is supposed to be in terms of free and fair elections. This is a disgrace and a case worthy of being investigated.”
Cope councillor Nomazotsho Kopolo also indicated that the party had lodged a complaint with the IEC regarding the employment of old presiding officers in voting stations. “We had asked them to train the youth. All they do is employ old and corrupt presiding officers. We even gave the example of the last elections when ballot papers were found in banana boxes. Everything is done through theft and corruption. They won through theft and corruption. When will they get tired of playing our people? Something needs to be done,” she said.
In response to questions sent via email, Pelele Mguli from the Chris Hani Regional IEC office said, “This is a solemn allegation and therefore am not in any stage to respond to your questions [sic].” The Rep has since taken the ballot papers in question to the IEC offices.