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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

IEC responds to eThekwini ‘vote-rigging’ videos circulated by MK party

The IEC is contemplating measures against the MK party and individuals present in videos of alleged vote-rigging at its eThekwini sites.

With the 29 May election literally on our doorstep, videos circulated by Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) party members of alleged “vote-rigging” in progress have spread like wildfire on social media.

The videos are related to alleged activities at the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) storage sites in Chesterville and Hammersdale in KwaZulu-Natal’s eThekwini metro on Saturday, 25 May.

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IEC storage sites for ballot papers in the line of fire

“These are legitimate and authorised arrangements for the distribution of ballot papers and other bulk material,” the commission explained in a statement released on Sunday.

The security measures put in place involves a police escort for trucks distributing ballot papers to local storage sites which the IEC says will be guarded on a 24-hours basis.

WATCH: What’s going on here?

MK party members at IEC storage sites

The IEC noted that the individuals seen in the video entered the warehouse without authorisation before filming their unauthorised activities.

It added that – at the time of the statement’s release – MK party members were still at the provincial warehouse of the IEC where the ballot papers were returned.

“No party will be allowed to gain entry into the warehouse premises of the commission,” it reiterated.

According to the IEC, it instructed the leadership of the MK party to “immediately leave the warehouse as the commission urgently needs to finalise the distribution of election material”.

It confirmed that all the election materials shown in these videos were still in the possession of the IEC.

Violation of code of conduct

The commission said it is contemplating measures against the party and the individuals involved as such obstruction to election activities should not be tolerated.

“This conduct violates the Code of Conduct and other electoral prescripts.”

ALSO READ: IFP confident of toppling ANC in KZN despite MK party’s rise

IEC condemns threats directed at staff

In another incident in eThekwini, a presiding officer was allegedly woken up at his home in the middle of the night in relation to bulk material stored at the Baptist Church voting station in Chesterville.

Bulk material is voting booths, voting station signage/banners and new unfolded ballot boxes. This bulk electoral material was taken to Cato Manor police station in eThekwini.

“It is part of the logistical plan for the commission to deliver bulk material to voting stations ahead of election day,” the IEC explained.

The measure aims to ensure that voting stations open on time as only security material, such as ballot papers, will be delivered on the day of voting.

ALSO READ: A guide to voting and what the different ballot papers mean

The commission stated that it strongly condemns threats to its staff.

“No party nor its representatives have authority to gain access to private homes of electoral staff. Worse still, no party nor its representatives may take control of election material without being authorised.”

According to the IEC, this electoral material is being prepared for distribution to voting stations in time for the special votes on Monday, 27 May ahead of Wednesday’s election day.

NOW READ: ‘Theatre of electoral transparency’: IEC launches national results operation centre in Midrand

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