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Sunday, 26 May 2024 13:41

IEC instructs MK party to leave storage sites and condemns threats against officials in KZN.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has dismissed allegations of vote rigging made against its offices in KwaZulu-Natal and has condemned threats made against its officials.

This comes days before the National and Provincial Elections are due to be held on 29 May.

The commission said, it noted "with great concern" videos circulating related to the allegations at its storage sites in Chesterville and Hammersdale in the province.

"We wish to clarify that the videos depict our planned logistical arrangements and storage of election materials as we prepare for the first day of special voting on 27 May 2024. These are legitimate and authorised arrangements for the distribution of ballot papers and other bulk material.

"The planned security measures were that the trucks distributing ballot papers are escorted by SAPS to the local storage site. These storage sites will then be guarded on a 24-hours basis. This arrangement would ensure that the storage sites are protected against unauthorised entry, burglary, and tempering with election materials and ensure detailed control and recording of all items in storage," the commission said in a statement.

It further warned that no members of political parties will be allowed entry into any storage facility.

"No party will be allowed to gain entry into the warehouse premises of the commission. We instruct the leadership of MK party to immediately leave the warehouse as the commission urgently needs to finalise the distribution of election material," the statement read.

The IEC said that in the same province, an official was "was woken at home in the middle of the night about bulk material stored at the Baptist Church voting station in Chesterville".

"Bulk material is voting booths, voting station signage/banners and new unfolded ballot boxes. This bulk electoral material was taken to Cato Manor police station in eThekwini, in KwaZulu Natal.

"It is part of the logistical plan for the commission to deliver bulk material to voting stations ahead of Election Day. This is meant to ensure that voting stations open on time as only security material such as ballot papers will be delivered on the day of voting," the commission said.

Furthermore, it strongly condemned any threats towards its staff members.

"No party nor its representatives have authority to gain access to private homes of electoral staff. Worse still no party nor its representatives may take control of election material without being authorised.

"We want to assure the public that additional measures have been implemented to secure these various storage sites across the country. We confirm that the commission has possession of all election materials shown in these videos.

"This electoral material is being prepared for distribution to voting stations in time for the special votes tomorrow, 27 May 2024.

"The commission is contemplating measures against the party and the individuals involved as such obstruction to election activities should not be tolerated. This conduct violates the Code of Conduct and other electoral prescripts," the IEC said.