IEC attending to closed voting stations

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has assured voters at the five voting stations in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, which were not yet opened by 5pm, that efforts to were being made to resolve this matter.

“Efforts to resolve these and provide voters in these areas with an opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote are continuing and will continue for as long as is necessary,” IEC Deputy Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Masego Sheburi said.

Addressing a media briefing on Wednesday at the National Results Operation Centre in Tshwane, the CEO said the voting stations that were affected include two in the Eastern Cape -- one voting station in Buffalo City and one in Ntabankulu -- as well as three voting stations in Inkosi Langalibalele municipality in the uThukela District (Escort).

“Four voting stations in Vuwani, Limpopo, which had earlier opened, were also forced to close for a period during the course of the day due to unrest and safety concerns. However, these have all now re-opened,” Sheburi said.

The Electoral Commission has expressed sadness at the lack of respect for democracy and the rights of others in these areas and has reiterated its call on these communities to put the national interests of the country above the narrow interests of the community.

Reports have also been received of temporary shortages of ballot papers at some voting stations, where distribution plans were not fully implemented.

“A factor which contributed to shortages was the ability of voters to cast their votes at any voting station in their province, in line with section 24(a),” said Sheburi.

Section 24 (a) of the Electoral Act states that voters are allowed to vote at any voting station in their province.

“In most cases, shortages were rapidly resolved by the redistribution of ballots and reserve stock, and voting resumed quickly.

The Electoral Commission has urged all registered voters, who have not yet voted, to use the final hours of voting to make their voice heard.

“Those voters, who may have been waiting for the initial rush to pass, are urged to urgently make their way to voting stations to ensure they have an opportunity to vote before stations close at 21H00.

“As noted earlier, no voters who are in a queue at 9pm will be turned away and voting will continue until the last voter in the queue has been served,” Sheburi said.

The Electoral Commission said it remains highly satisfied and encouraged with voting progress throughout the day and throughout the country.

There are approximately 26.7 million registered voters. The sixth democratic General Election takes place as South Africa celebrates the 25th anniversary of its first democratic elections. –