KZN presiding officer charged for rigging ballot papers

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ulundi - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Safety and Liaison has confirmed that a presiding officer in Ulundi who allegedly stuffed a ballot box with ballot papers has been charged for violating the Electoral Act.

Speaking to BuaNews on Wednesday, department spokesperson, Nonkululeko Mbatha, said the incident was "shocking," and affirmed that the officer has been charged and is expected to appear in court soon.

According to the spokesperson, the ballot papers were allegedly marked in favour of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

She said voting came to an immediate halt at the B South polling station when party agents found that ballot papers had already been marked before voting could start.

The presiding officer was taken to the Emagudwini police station in Ulundi's C section where she was officially charged in front of departmental MEC, Bheki Cele, who is stationed in Ulundi.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Director Phindile Radebe said the presiding officer was charged with fraud and defying Section 91 A and B of Electoral Act.

Director Radebe said the ballot boxes and ballot papers were transported from Ekhombe to Nkandla on Tuesday night, however when the delivery arrived in Nkandla, two boxes were missing.

Ms Radebe said it was reported that a person was seen in possession of the completed ballot papers and in the process of putting them into the ballot boxes.

The two boxes, which contained 100 marked ballot papers, were found at 19B South Hall. An envelope, which was supposed to contain 53 special votes had also been found with 104 votes inside.