Election Day: IEC stays the course to ensure right to vote

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has assured voters, who arrive at voting stations before 9pm tonight, that they will be allowed to vote, even if the process stretches beyond the closing time.

Voting stations opened at 7am today for South Africans to cast their votes in the 2024 National and Provincial Elections, with special votes (for those who applied for various reasons) and voting abroad already having taken place.

“We are pleased that our efforts are yielding results, with the length of the queues substantially reduced,” said IEC Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo on Wednesday.

Addressing media at the National Results Operations Centre (ROC) in Midrand this evening, Mamabolo said voting stations are experiencing a late surge and are processing a large number of voters in certain areas, particularly the metropolitan areas in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.

“The Commission is pleased that most glitches reported earlier have been overcome, allowing electoral officials to service voters timeously,” Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo said every citizen who has made an effort to be at a voting station must be allowed to vote.

There are 23 292 voting stations, with over 27.79 million registered voters.

“We urge those who have not voted to use the remaining time to go and make their mark. Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) will remain deployed at the voting stations to ensure the safety of voters.

“The Commission is pleased with the high turnout at many voting stations across the country and thanks voters who have exercised patience in the queues while waiting for their turn to vote,” Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo explained that once the counting processes have been completed, the Commission will start a process to remove all voting materials, including ballot boxes and used ballots, to storage facilities.

“This process will be handled with the utmost care,” Mamabolo said, urging members of the public to report any irregularities to the authorities.

Mamabolo said to improve the quality of vote counting and the completion of results slips, the Commission has instituted a new category of staff, who will support the presiding officer with the counting effort.

“The recruitment criteria for this staff was slightly different from the rest, as high levels of numeracy are mandatory. Three such staff were appointed for each voting station and each sub-station where we operate a voting centre,” Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo said according to the Electoral Act, the Commission has seven days within which to announce the results.

“We have always been able to declare and announce the results well within this period and will endeavour to do so with these elections,” he said.

With regard to voting at Correctional Service centres, Mamabolo said voting has been completed at all correctional facilities across the country.

“We remain grateful to the Department of Correctional Services for its ongoing assistance in ensuring that inmates exercise their democratic rights,” Mamabolo said. – SAnews.gov.za