DA members attend the party’s manifesto launch in Johannesburg, where leader Mmusi Maimane said his party will create jobs and root out corruption. Picture: GENEVIEVE QUINTAL
DA members attend the party’s manifesto launch in Johannesburg, where leader Mmusi Maimane said his party will create jobs and root out corruption. Picture: GENEVIEVE QUINTAL

The DA is discussing the possibility of objecting to the election result, given issues experienced on voting day.

A number of polling stations ran out of ballot papers, some ID scanners malfunctioned and there were reports that the ink used to mark those who had voted was rubbing off, increasing fears that some might try to cast their ballot more than once.

The DA’s representative at the Electoral Commission of SA’s (IEC’s) result centre, Mike Moriarty, said the party had lodged about 2,500 complaints around the country. 

“A complaint is not an objection, but it is something that is material,” he said.

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“Objections, such as they have been so far, were lodged by different party agents in an undefined number of polling stations around the country. We don’t have the total number of that [but] I think it will be in the order of about 60.”

Moriarty said the DA had 48 hours from when voting stations closed at 9pm on Wednesday to decide whether or not to object to the results.

“That is still under discussion. We are considering everything,” he said. 

“Not only is it the right thing to do, it is also the outcome of a judgment set out by the Constitutional Court in Tlokwe.”

The court had previously ruled that the 2013 Tlokwe by-elections in the North West were not free and fair.

Moriarty said the apex court had set the standard. 

“Now we have to ask ourselves does this [Constitutional] Court tell us the standard is free and fair, [and] does the evidence say that this election was not free and fair? That is where we are having our conversation right now,” he said.

He said the IEC seemed to be having doubts over the process and had to reconcile the cumulative effect of all the concerns and determine whether to act or demonstrate that the elections were in fact free and fair. 

“The fact that it finds itself considering those things means it is common cause that these elements … could be an argument that an election was somehow compromised.” 

Moriarty said the biggest concern was whether anyone was able to vote more than once. 

More complaints

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said his party had not yet raised any issues in the aftermath of Wednesday’s voting. He said the ANC had party liaisons at voting districts and that they would have attended to issues when they happened.

“Now there is nothing as of yet,” Mabe said.

Ansie du Plooy, general secretary of the FF Plus, said the party laid complaints while voting was proceeding, but that it was all resolved in the process.

“As we logged calls, they sent ballot papers,” Du Plooy said.

She said the issue of people voting more than once — which the IEC was investigating — was not so large that it would have an effect on the elections.

She said she did not believe that anything happened that would lead to the elections not being declared free and fair.

“We would have seen a bigger voter turnout then. There is a low voter turnout. If 25,000 people went to go and vote twice, you would have seen a huge spike,” Du Plooy said.

“One should lose with grace and win with grace," she added.

UDM treasurer-general Thandi Nontenja said it was shocking that the names of 25 dead people appeared on the voters’ roll at one district in the Eastern Cape. Some of the incidents were verified by the deceased's family members.

“In one case a family member who spoke to us confirmed that her granny, who appeared on the voters’ roll, was no more,” she said.

Nontenja accused the IEC of being arrogant when questioned about its control measures, which she said needed to be reviewed. 

COPE head of elections Mzwandile Hleko said the party was unhappy about voting stations that opened late, that party agents were refused access in other voting stations, and that some political parties were campaigning as people queued to cast their votes on Wednesday.

“These are the objections we lodged with the IEC, some have been attended to. What we are saying is that the IEC must capacitate its presiding officers going forward,” said Hleko. 

IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the party's  main objection related to the scanners at the voting stations, which were increasingly becoming “untrusted devices”. 

“There is a fundamental flaw in the electoral system that could threaten the integrity of the results,” said Hlengwa, who also serves as the IFP Youth Brigade’s national chair.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za