IEC expresses grief over ‘lack of respect for democracy’

Pretoria – The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on Wednesday warned that people attempting to vote twice would face serious consequences including charges of fraud.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Sy Mamabolo made the warning at the national results operations centre in Pretoria, after journalists asked him about claims of people removing the ink from their fingernails and voting again in the ongoing sixth general elections.

"If there are people who are attempting to double vote, then it’s a fraudulent activity. It’s one which the Commission will not countenance. If there is evidence of anyone attempting, or having factually voted twice we would want details of those people so that we institute prosecutions against them," said Mamabolo.

"We can never allow a situation where people are allowed to vote twice."

At the same briefing, IEC’s deputy chief executive Masego Shiburi revealed that by 5pm on Wednesday, five voting stations had not been opened to enable South Africans to cast their votes.

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

"However, there have been some setbacks including those caused by ongoing community unrest in isolated areas which have affected election operations," Shiburi said.

Those five voting stations are in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

"Efforts to resolve these and provide voters in these areas with an opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote are continuity for as long as is necessary. 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 now all reopened," Shiburi said.

"The IEC is saddened by the lack of respect for democracy and the rights of others in these limited areas and once again calls on these communities to put the national interests of the country above narrow interests of the community at least for today."

South Africans are electing lawmakers in a process that will ultimately see the selection of the country’s next president by the new Parliament.

The May 8 elections are South Africa’s sixth since the dawn of democracy in 1994.

African News Agency (ANA)

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