Limpopo IEC official fired after opening ballot box

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in Limpopo has fired a presiding officer after he agreed with party agents to open a ballot box.

Addressing media at the results operations centre in Polokwane on Monday, 1 November 2021, IEC provincial electoral operations manager Itumeleng Seaneo said a voter had asked the official to open the ballot box as he wanted to rectify a mistake.

The IEC in Limpopo says the ballot box, from a voting station in Botlokwa, was quarantined immediately to ensure its integrity.

“We can confirm indeed that this matter has been reported to us. We’ve been handling this matter, which involves one of our presiding officers deciding together with all political parties that were there to open a ballot box in order to assist a voter who allegedly indicated that they voted wrongly. The position is that it does not matter whether or not all party agents agree to that procedure. The procedure was incorrect in law and some measures had to be taken to remedy the situation”

IEC provincial electoral operations manager Itumeleng Seaneo

In another incident, the principal of a school which was a designated voting station, refused IEC officials access to conduct their duties.

“A principal of Hoerskool Ellisras in Lephalale did not allow IEC into the school hall notwithstanding that a lease agreement was signed and there is an agreement with the Department of Education that the commission will have access to the schools,” Seaneo said.

Despite such incidents, Seaneo said as the IEC they are satisfied that preparations for the elections were free.

“It (the commission) is satisfied that it has done everything reasonably possible to prepare for these elections which are highly contested given the number of candidates, 11 617, inclusive of 231 independents and 69 district contesting parties,” he said.