IEC clarifies unsubstantiated reports

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pretoria - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said it was disturbed by unsubstantiated reports that voters belonging to certain political parties had been purged from the voters' roll.

Briefing reporters in Pretoria on Sunday about progress on voter registration, IEC chairperson Dr Brigalia Bam said: "we want to reassure all South Africans that party affiliation has never been a consideration for registration as a voter.

"The IEC was disturbed by unsubstantiated reports that voters belonging to certain political parties had been purged from the voters' roll.

"We requested those parties to submit evidence of such irregularity," she said.

She also reminded political parties that it was their responsibility to create a climate conducive to the conduct of free and fair elections.

Ms Bam said as the IEC, they maintain an audit trail of the voters' roll for every voter that has ever applied for registration.

"We don't have any voter that has ever been removed from the voters' roll," she said.

On Saturday, an estimated 1 million people had visited voting stations across the country to either register, re-register if they had moved or to inspect their details on the voter's roll.

Dr Bam also said their website had more than 46 786 hits.

According to Ms Bam, they had also received 65 472 SMSs, while the website on Sunday midday had recorded a total of 22 079 hits.

At the same time, she said the SMS facility had received 29 538 messages, while 22 848 callers had contacted the Call Centre to enquire about their registration status or at which station they should register.

"So far, over the two days, the IEC's website had received more than 68 865 hits and the SMS facility had reached 95 010.

The IEC chairperson also said they were confident to reach their target of 22 million voters before President Kgalema Motlanthe proclaims the date of the election.

"We are confident that we will reach our target of 22 million eligible voters on the voters' roll," she said.

Dr Bam said this will be achieved if eligible voters continue registering or checking their registration details at their respective municipal electoral offices.

The final voter registration weekend gave new voters a chance to register, while eligible ones were being given a chance to check their voter registration status, including confirming their voting stations for the 2009 polls.

Ms Bam said on Sunday, all 19 726 registration stations across the country were opened including those delayed by rainfall in Kwazulu-Natal.

She said in Moutse, Limpopo there were 39 voting stations, but only 33 were opened on Saturday following the protests of certain residents who wanted to be incorporated into Mpumalanga.

However, Dr Bam said the few service delivery protests did not affect the registration process.

She said the law enforcement was keeping a close eye in all voting stations to ensure the safety of voters.

The IEC thanked South Africans who participated in the voter registration weekend.

"We thank all South Africans who have heeded our call to register, re-register and check their details this past weekend.

"While the voting stations will close at 5pm on Sunday, nobody present at those stations at the time will be turned away before they are registered or their details have been checked," she said.

According to the IEC, the final figures of the final voter registration weekend can be expected on Wednesday.