The IEC has stuffed up this election says Ekurhuleni councillor and DA candidate Simon Lapping. And he’s not the only politician pulling his hair out over alleged IEC incompetence on election day. Several voters and candidates from various parties told The Citizen that there seems to be a substantial glitch in the system with thousands of voters not able to make their mark.
“Officials have turned away a large number of voters today,” says another DA candidate Lana Marais. She says that as recently as Sunday night people were receiving text messages directing them to the correct polling station, the one that they had registered for, only to turn up and be shown away.
Down the road at the Sunward Park voting station, the ACDP’s ward candidate Cindy Sibuyi echoes Marais’ concern over the voters’ roll. “There seems to be a huge mix-up over addresses and actual voting station registrations. There were extremely long delays at this station due to people not being found on the roll.”
Stoffel van Graan, 43, said to The Citizen that his daughter, who is studying in Potchefstroom, was denied her vote because her address after re-registration was somehow reverted to Boksburg. “My daughter checked and double checked her new voting venue last night, only to be told today that she does not feature on the roll in Potch,” says an angry Van Graan. “So, to vote she’s had to drive home for three hours. It’s a mess.”
The IEC’s Tshepo Sefothelo said to The Citizen that its commissioners were looking into the problem and that a statement that addresses the matter should be available soon.
Mat Cuthbert, DA Gauteng East Campaign Manager, said that people have a right to vote and should be able to on presentation of proof of address. “The problem with registrations seems to be widespread and we are trying to assist voters as much as possible.”
He said the confusion is likely adding to low turnout figures.
“It absolutely impacts voter turnout,” argues Lapping, who says that he has never seen such an election mishap on a scale quite as large as this. “By 5pm on election day Ekurhuleni voter turnout was around 20%, DA specific voters at 30%. I am sure it would have been a whole lot more if people were not turned away in such large numbers.” He is mad as hell, he added.