Social media was abuzz yesterday with people calling out the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) when they witnessed the potential for fraud at the 2019 elections. The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) now added their voice to the mix as well.
The IEC have admitted that they are treading new ground as it deals with severe allegations of voter fraud during yesterday’s elections.
This election is an excellent example of how technology can be used to hold power to account as citizens from all walks of life speak out against mistreatment, misdeeds or incompetence they may have encountered yesterday.
Following this, the IFP said they will be lodging several complaints with the IEC as the commission had not been honest about the irregularities. IFP’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa explained:
“The IEC at times just pretends that things are fine and it’s aloof to the prevailing issues on the ground which actually have a meaningful impact on the credibility and integrity of this election. So, we’re expecting the IEC to give responses. They don’t take us seriously, that will be a serious problem.”
While the power of technology has helped ensure there’s transparency, the IEC did urge anyone with concerns about their voting experience to refer it to the commission so that they could investigate the incidents.
With respect to the allegations of election fraud, the IEC have assured South Africa that they will not be taking the matter lightly and are currently investigating several alleged irregularities.
At a press briefing last night, the IEC stated that the current voting process has a number of safeguards in place and that it was a misconception that the only adequate safeguard was the application of indelible ink.
There was widespread concern when it was alleged by voters that the ink could be removed easily and that in a number of locations the scanners were not operational.
It’s still unclear what will happen to the votes from voting stations that may have been impacted by voting fraud, how widespread the problem is and even if the IEC’s exception process will be sufficient to identify irregularities.
The IEC have however vowed to investigate the matter thoroughly and throw the book at anyone who is found to have been involved in voter fraud. IEC commissioner Mosotho Moepya said:
“We are going to hold people accountable. It has never happened before. If it has happened, we will deal with it. We will leave no stone unturned.”