People look at election results boards at the IEC's results operations centre in Pretoria, May 9 2019. Picture: PHIL MAGAKO/AFP
People look at election results boards at the IEC's results operations centre in Pretoria, May 9 2019. Picture: PHIL MAGAKO/AFP

Smaller political parties staged a dramatic protest inside the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) national results centre in Pretoria on Thursday night, raising a number of grievances against the electoral body and media coverage in general.

The political parties included the African Content Movement, BLF, Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, African People's Convention, National Freedom Party, Forum 4 Service Delivery, Women Forward, Christian Political Movement, and Land Party, among others.

Opposition parties raised their concerns regarding the eligibility of the 2019 election as well as the media coverage of their campaigns.

Some of the parties went as far as to say they were "rejecting" the election results. 

Speaking to journalists, African Transformation Movement (ATM) official Mzwanele Manyi said the political parties were not happy with the electoral process and were not convinced that it would deliver a free and fair election.

He said all the issues had been put to the IEC for its attention. They included the ink used to mark voters' thumbs after casting a ballot. The parties said it was a fundamental issue that threatened the credibility of the election, held on Wednesday.

They alleged that the ink was easily washed off, allowing unscrupulous people to vote more than once in some cases.

APC’s Adil Nchabeleng said the smaller parties had met earlier to discuss their grievances and the way forward.

He said there had been no equal access to the media, which was accused of focusing only on the ANC, DA and the EFF.

Nchabeleng said all the objections that had been raised with the IEC were a deliberate move to undermine minority parties.

“We are here to declare that the elections are not free and fair,” he said, adding: “The SABC TV and radio sidelined us.”

BLF spokesperson Zanele Lwana said there was overwhelming evidence of irregularities “governing the elections”.

Live results of the national vote in the 2019 general elections

She said a programme was being orchestrated that would result in a government of national unity comprising the ANC, DA and EFF.

Lwana said the results trickling in at the results centre made a mockery of smaller parties. “There is a clear programme to alienate dissenting voices in this country.”

Land Party’s Castello Machete said the smaller parties had not ruled out approaching the Electoral Court to seek relief.

with Claudi Mailovich