News / South Africa / Elections / Local Elections 2021

Eric Naki
Political Editor
2 minute read
1 Nov 2021
11:24 pm

IEC says they’re not to blame for low voter turnout

Eric Naki

The IEC has already made it clear that their VMDs can't be blamed for low voter turnout, saying voting could go ahead, even when offline.

A voter casting his vote at the Philip Nel Fire station voting station on 1 November 2021, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The local government election’s dismally poor voter turnout has become a bone of contention, with the the Electoral Commission of South Africa already declaring itself free of blame, despite the cause of the voter apathy still having to be determined.

This as a mere 8 million of the 26.2 people on the voters’ roll had made their marks by 17:00 on Monday, representing only a third of eligible voters.

Also Read: Disturbingly low voter turnout recorded across all nine provinces thus far

However, the Electoral Commission of South Africa has already declared absolved its voter management devices (VMDs), which were initially suspected of having slowed down and delaying the voting process.

The IEC was adamant that the problem had nothing to do with its systems and IEC senior manager Granville Abrahams stressed that they were confident the VMDs were not to blame.

“The VMD is fully equipped to operate in offline mode, so there is no truth to claims  that the VMD were offline. We monitored the processing of votes the entire day.

“There is no way the machine would affect the voting when off line. It cannot be that the voters were not able to vote,” Abrahams said.

IEC commissioner Dr Nomsa Masuku said the commission was attending to complaints raised about voters whose names could not be found on the voter’s roll or approved MEC7-list. She said all voters whose names could not be found would have been allowed to vote in  terms of the municipal legislation governing electoral process.

There had been numerous reports throughout Monday that voting stations had run out of ballot papers. The commission dismissed those, saying there was no way this could happen because it had procured 100% of the ballots needed.

Masuku said the first results of the elections can be expected just after midnight.