On the first day of the elections 2019 special vote, the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has already been hit with serious issues, after three ballot boxes were found by a motorist, Errence Mash, alongside the R36 road near Tzaneen, Limpopo.
As reported by Letaba Herald, Mash was enjoying a drive on Sunday afternoon when he spotted the boxes on the side of the road. Upon closer inspection, Mash indicated that he found two more boxes folded inside the big one.
Motorist finds ballot boxes near Tzaneen
Fearing that he may have been tampering with forensic evidence, Mash decided against picking up the boxes. Instead, he took to his Facebook and captured the entire incident on his live feed, before leaving the scene.
After notifying the police, Mash returned to the spot and showed officers what he had found. According to IEC chairperson, Glen Mashinini, the electoral authority has been alerted about the incident and they are investigating it.
“It’s not ballot papers but ballot boxes” – Mashinini
He revealed that it is not clear, as yet, whether the boxes belonged to the IEC. However, he was able to confirm that there were no ballot papers found inside the boxes.
“If those boxes are in any way our boxes, it will be regrettable and the matter will be attended to accordingly with whoever the officer is, but at this stage, our understanding is that it is not ballot papers, it is ballot boxes that were destined to a destination. How they got on the ground, we are not yet sure, but we will be providing a report on that,” he said.
IEC’s vow to preserve fairness in elections
This incident mirrors certain reports that were published during the 2014 elections about ballot boxes that were found in areas around Gauteng.
Although this raised serious concerns around the fairness of the election, the electoral body did conclude that no evidence of tampering was ever found.
To ensure that proper policies are being adhered to in the handling of ballot boxes after the votes have been counted, the IEC noted that it will allow political parties to provide their own sealings to “help protect the integrity of the results.”