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By Carien Grobler

Deputy Digital Editor

IEC cannot confirm yet if MK party will be charged for alleged break-in

IEC’s Deputy Chief Electoral Officer warned that individuals who will be voting at the address they provided, would only be visited once.

Special votes got underway in more than 20 000 voting stations across the country on Monday.

“Stations are there to assist people who registered for special votes until 5pm on Tuesday, whether it is a voting station, at home or in care facilities,” said the IEC’s Deputy Chief Electoral Officer (DCEO) Masego Sheburi on Monday afternoon at a media briefing at the National Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Midrand.

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According to Sheburi, 1.6 million special voters were approved. Of these, 1 million were approved for voting at voting stations on Monday and Tuesday and 600 000 votes were approved to be cast at addresses provided by voters.

At 2pm on Monday, it was estimated that 230 000 votes have been cast at voting stations.

IEC happy with turnout

“We are happy with turnout but urge those who haven’t voted to please do so,” he said.

However, he warned that individuals who will be voting at the address they provided, would only be visited once. “If we do not find the voter, the teams will not return. These voters will still be able to vote at the voting station they are registered for on 29 May between 7am and 9pm.”

Special votes will only be counted with the rest of the votes at the closing of stations on 29 May. “This is because the same verification required for normal ballot papers are required for special ballots.”

“The commission would also like to clarify that if a voter applies for a special vote more than once, the second transaction will override the first. Similarly, if a voter applies for a special vote and subsequently to that applies or gives us an indication to vote by Section 24 A, the Section24 A application overrides the special vote application that has been granted. This is in place to honour the constitutional requirement that a voter can only vote once,” Sheburi explained.

Although the commission can report a good start at voting stations across the country, it indicated that there are areas in which the IEC has not been able to operate. “This is not because of ineptness on the part of the commission but owing to external challenges that have made it impossible for voters to vote. The majority of these 107 stations are in the OR Tambo region owing to the ongoing taxi strikes.”

On whether the IEC will be taking legal action against the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party who allegedly broke into the warehouse of the IEC over the weekend, DCEO Mawethu Mosery said the Provincial Electoral Officer met with the leadership of the party.

“The incident is still being delt with by the commission and the police. We will know in due course if criminal charges will be laid.”

The MK party is also seeking answers from the IEC on why its expelled member, Jabulani Khumalo, was allowed at the Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Midrand last Wednesday.

The party, which is led by former president Jacob Zuma, has written to the IEC questioning the circumstances under which Khumalo was granted access.

According to Mosery, the ROC is a public facility created primarily for media houses and contesting political parties. It also welcomes ordinary citizens to visit.

“We control that by day passes and by limiting the access to a certain number of individuals. However, we will formally respond to the party.”

Additional POP members deployed

Public order policing (POP) members are being deployed to different parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape to bolster law enforcement and intensify crime combatting efforts in the two provinces.

This was announced during a send off parade where the National Commissioner of the Saps, General Fannie Masemola, addressed more than 700 POP members in Harrismith. These officers will add to the existing capacity of members currently deployed in these provinces, to ensure that voting takes place in a safe and secure environment.

During his address, Masemola gave the POP members orders to ensure they prevent and combat any acts of criminality and protect the rights of South Africans to vote in a peaceful environment.

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