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Analyst lauds election turnout

As Millions of South Africans eagerly await the results for the countries 5th general elections, officials and analysts alike have expressed surprise at the massive turnout for the election, with the IEC confirming an increase in registration of 2.2 million for the 2009 elections.

Political Analyst Mzoxolo Mpolase lauded the increase, and boiled it down to a number of issues; include better preparation and efficiency by the IEC, and maturation by South Africans in terms of the issues that the country was facing. However he acknowledged the lack of a youth presence at the polls, and said their perception of politics could only be changed by first winning over their trust.

“Because politics in South Africa is viewed as being self-serving, it is a challenge for government and the elders of those youth to bring that interest about. We need to encourage them to participate in between elections,” he explained.

He also viewed it as hypocritical that the age group between 20 and 49 were complaining about youth not voting, when they in fact were not participating in South Africa’s democratic system, beyond just voting.

“Voting is only but a limited element, because you need to participate in between elections. You have to be part of your ward councils, you need to vote in local government municipalities, and engage with your councils. All of these things have still yet to be inculcated in South African culture. And of course the youth are a by-product of this very system,” he suggested.

Discussing the issue of loyalty to parties, Mpolase said it was not as big a problem as possibly their identification to certain parties. He noted race still played a huge part in voting in South Africa, and some may still feel their political aspirations were in line with a party that represented the same race as them. He noted loyalty was always there in a political system.

“The key is to match that loyalty with the performance aspect of it. Yes is vote the ANC or the DA, but they didn’t deliver in this aspect. How then can we make them deliver, if indeed your loyalty supersedes that aspect of delivery,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

Elections smooth: Allie

A delegation of Electoral Code of Conduct Observer Commission (ECCOC) officials from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), have hailed South Africans for participating in the countries first democratic elections in a reputable manner, and for observing the code of conduct. Despite minor delays and protests in certain parts of the country, the IEC confirmed that all issues were swiftly resolved.

The delegation monitored operations at various polling stations across the city on election day in order to ensure the voting process was running smoothly. Amongst the delegation was Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) secretary-general Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie, who complimented voters for being disciplined and orderly, at most of the stations that was visited. He said most voters adhered to the principle of tolerance during the elections.

Various incidents were reported across the country, including delays in the opening of polling stations, while in certain areas police were required to step in to resolve tensions, but Allie noted the IEC, with its various agencies and clusters, had plans in place to deal with any issues that arose.

“You have the security cluster there at stations; you have an area manager there whom people could lodge written complaints to, which would then be forwarded to the IEC and then investigated. So those particular areas and dimensions were truly addressed by the IEC,” he explained.

As far as party agents outside the polling stations were concerned, Allie said there had been only one incident of note, where a party had been accused of campaigning. However, he said most were compliant with the rules and regulations.

“I’ve received some information from the other teams that engagement between the political parties was good. They maintained a good spirit in terms of nation building,” he said.

With concerns being raised on issues like ID’s not stamped and polling stations not wheelchair friendly, IEC Western Cape head Courtney Sampson admitted it was a big operation and sometimes these issues did arise. He noted the issues were not something the IEC were unaware of, and they would be addressed.

“You can’t please everybody, but at the end of the day we take every criticism that comes our way, we take it seriously and try to use it as a way of improving the operation of the IEC,” he said.

Addressing concerns some voters may have voted multiple times, Sampson admitted that if some individuals “really wanted to buckle the system”, they would probably find a way to go about doing it.

“The view we take is, if you have tried to defraud the electoral process, you must be charged. If anybody brings up proof of somebody who has done that, we will obviously put the matter to the police, who will investigate it. If it is necessary the National Prosecuting Authority will look at charges against the person,” he said.

Meanwhile, the IEC said efficient election services during Wednesday’s elections were due to a number of innovations implemented in the build up to voters’ rush to the polls. During a post-elections press briefing on Thursday morning, Western Cape IEC head Courtney Sampson explained the 2014 elections saw the earliest closure of polls and election activity ever. According to Sampson, this year saw the easiest and most efficient capturing of voting data, voter turnout, spoilt ballots and results, ever.

“This is due to a number of new innovations that we came up with on the stricture of the operation in the metro. [It was] broken up into eleven management areas; this made it possible for us to let people vote at substations with special electoral staff there for every queue,” he said at the Western Cape IEC operations centre in Bellville.

Any conflicts that arose during the elections process, he said, were dealt with efficiently and smoothly with assistance from professionals.

Sampson said they took “a pro-active approach to conflict management, and the engagement of professional conflict resolution experts to deal with that. We also engaged with strike teams where long queues occurred.”

The elections ran smoothly with the help of members of the security cluster. He gave special thanks to the South African Police Services (SAPS) for their presence during polling proceedings.

The provincial IEC head said now that elections have come and gone, the process of counting the votes will become its focus. He said now is the time for political parties involved in the elections to come to the fore and be the centre of attention.

“As the IEC we have tried to respond to all the issues raised. [But] I agree that it is now time for us to move into the background and have political parties take centre stage, with our support, to lead us into the future; and maintain the same level of accountability to us and visibility in many of the communities where the needs are the greatest.” VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)

IEC, cops at odds over voter fraud

The Rietgat police station, where two people were held over suspected voter fraud

It didn’t happen, said the Independent Electoral Commission. They appeared in court, said the SAPS.

On Wednesday night, police arrested three people on charges of fraud after a man allegedly voted three times.

The Star was at Rietgat police station in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, when the man and two women were brought to the police station.

On Thursday, police formally confirmed the arrests and said the three appeared in the Soshanguve Magistrate’s Court on charges of fraud.

“Soshanguve police arrested three people at the Kgotlelelang Primary School voting station after a complaint was received from an IEC official,” said Brigadier Neville Malila.

“The complainant identified a male who had allegedly already voted and attempted to vote again. On further investigation of the suspect’s ID document, officials noted there were three IEC stamps in his ID,” said Malila.

Three stamps indicates three votes.

“The 22-year-old man from Soshanguve was arrested for fraud and contravention of the Electoral Act,” Malila said. “On further investigation, two officials, respectively 42 and 44 years old, were also arrested for fraud and contravention of the Electoral Act.”

The case was postponed until June 13 for further investigation and the three were warned to appear in court then.

Although the matter was reported to police by an IEC official – and on Wednesday, a Cope councillor in the Tshwane metro told The Star that Cope and other parties had reported the matter to the IEC and the police – the IEC does not have a record of this.

“We’ve never received any complaint about this. We don’t know anything about it,” said IEC vice-chairman Terry Tselane on Thursday.

He dismissed it as an urban legend, saying there had never before been a case of someone voting more than once.

It’s not clear how the man managed to beat the system, or whether he in fact voted more than once or merely tried to do so.

EFF reaches 1 million votes

New kids on the block the Economic Freedom Fighters cracked the million vote mark on Friday morning in their first national elections.

Early results from the Electoral Commission of SA results centre in Pretoria showed that Julius Malema’s party had 1,002,355 votes by 7.05am on Friday.

This meant the party had 6.06 percent of the national votes from Wednesday’s elections.

The votes could secure at least 20 seats in Parliament for the fledgling party. For a seat in Parliament, a political party needs about 47,000 votes.

With 94.61 percent of the votes counted, the African National Congress had 62.51 percent of the national votes with 10,333,002 votes while the Democratic Alliance remained in second place with 21.96 percent of the national votes. The DA had 3,629,890 votes.

The EFF was in third place.

Veteran party Inkatha Freedom Party had 405,802 (2.45 percent) votes, followed by their breakaway party the National Freedom Party with 269,712 (1.63 percent) votes.

Other debutant parties, such as Agang SA, the Workers and Socialist Party and the Patriotic Alliance have not done as well as Malema’s EFF.

Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang SA had only received 0.26 percent with 43,651 votes, which at this stage did not qualify the party for a seat in Parliament.

Kenny Kunene’s Patriotic Alliance received 12,710 votes (0.08 percent) and Wasp 7497 (0.05 percent) of the votes.

A total of 16,529,857 votes have been counted. SAPA

Tshwane councillor Tiyiselani Babane said on Wednesday the man was caught because he had been in the voting queue more than once.

It’s not clear how he circumvented systems to prevent this, including indelible ink marking on thumbs and zip-zip machines to check voters and ID book stamps.

“I have seen the ID. There are three stamps,” said Babane.

He said all political parties at the voting station had filed complaints with the IEC on the official forms.

It’s not known which party – if any – got the unauthorised extra votes.

The arrested man, wearing plain clothes but no party logos or identification, was brought to Rietgat at about 1am and handcuffed to a security gate. The two women arrested were wearing IEC T-shirts. IOL

DA winning Cape, ANC behind

Preliminary election results show the DA maintaining its Western Cape stronghold, while racing neck and neck with the ANC for the city of Tshwane. By midday on Thursday, the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) in the Western Cape had captured over half of the votes cast.

“We have already counted 1.6 million people and that is a count out of 2.94 million [registered] people…” provincial electoral officer Courtney Sampson said.

By noon the Democratic Alliance had obtained just under 60 percent of the vote in the Western Cape. This compared to just over 50 percent in 2009. The African National Congress had around 33 percent of the vote in the Western Cape, followed by the Economic Freedom Fighters with more than two percent.

The African Christian Democratic Party and Freedom Front Plus stood at a little over one percent each in the province. The Congress of the People dropped to under one percent in the Western Cape.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the party was growing and making inroads in the Western Cape. Mazibuko was excited about the lead the party had in the province, the only province not governed by the ANC. The DA had surpassed its 2009 numbers with only half of this year’s votes counted so far.

“We are very upbeat and we are growing significantly in this election,” Mazibuko said.

She predicted the DA would do well in Gauteng once all the stations had submitted their results.

“We will do very well once the results for Tshwane and Johannesburg are received. We had a very good premier candidate in Mmusi Maimane,” she said.

Gauteng numbers for the ANC and the DA were fairly even in the City of Tshwane. Out of the 35,719 votes counted, the ANC secured 15,765 with 14,659 votes for the DA.

The FF Plus was a distant third in Tshwane with 6.29 percent of the vote (2248), while the EFF garnered 1881. By midday on Thursday, the ANC was leading nationally in the election race with over four million votes. This was over 62 percent of the counted votes.

The DA secured 1.7m votes (23.01 percent). Julius Malema’s EFF was in third position with 362,063 votes (4.73 percent).

Meanwhile, the IEC said results from the eThekwini metro municipality were likely to be the last to be finalised in KwaZulu-Natal. In Durban, the province’s chief electoral officer Mosery Mawethu said counting of votes was continuing at three Durban polling stations by mid-morning.

All counting at the rest of the province’s 4746 polling stations and capturing of the results was under way. The final capturing of results in the province was expected to be completed by midnight on Thursday. SAPA

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