Tape of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) demarcates the polling station in the area of Bo Kaap, Cape Town, on May 8 2019, during South African general elections. Picture: AFP/ RODGER BOSCH
Tape of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) demarcates the polling station in the area of Bo Kaap, Cape Town, on May 8 2019, during South African general elections. Picture: AFP/ RODGER BOSCH

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) will “vigorously oppose” any legal action aimed at interfering in the conduct of elections and finalisation and announcement of results.

It has been expected that the election results will be announced on Saturday evening, but 27 smaller parties have demanded that an independent audit firm of the parties' choosing investigate allegations of double voting, and that the elections be rerun.

PODCAST: Smaller parties suspect fraud

The phenomenon of double voting raised much controversy in the aftermath of the election as it was discovered that some people had attempted to vote twice given that the indelible ink was able to be removed.

It was not clear whether anyone actually succeeded in casting a second vote. More than 20 people have been arrested for attempting to vote for a second time.  

The IEC said on Saturday afternoon that the commission wrote to the lawyers representing the parties in response to the demands made, that that their demands were “unreasonable and unlawful”.

The commission said that it was only empowered by law to adjudicate on the outcome of elections, declare the outcome and announce results. The IEC said aggrieved parties had ample recourse to raise objections through the normal objection process and, if still unsatisfied, to appeal against decisions of the commission in court.

“The law makes no provision for preemptive legal action to interdict the commission from abiding by its Constitutional and legal mandate,” the IEC said.

The IEC has received 47 objections, of which five were upheld and five withdrawn by objecting parties.

“Most of the objections did not meet the requirements of section 55 [of the Electoral Act] and lacked any evidence of irregularity. The commission is satisfied with the integrity of its systems,” the IEC said.

The IEC has said it has instituted an independent technical assurance process involving a random sample of 1,020 voting districts to be conducted by the statistician-general and is awaiting the findings of this process.

“Based on the findings and all other complaints and objections received, the commission will make a decision on the outcome of the elections later today,” the IEC said.

mailovichc@businesslive.co.za