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Tuesday, 28 May 2024 21:12

IEC declares readiness for historic 29 May and aims to protect integrity of this election.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has confirmed that the South African Police Service (SAPS) has arrested two people in connection with allegations of tampering with election materials and processes.

IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo told a media briefing on Tuesday evening two people were arrested, and another person was still at large.

Speaking about the first two days of special votes, Mamabolo said they were cast at 22 626 voting stations and home visits over the past two days.

"In the course of this afternoon, indications were that 937 144 voters had been processed. This figure is much higher than was the case in the previous elections and augers well for the turnout [on Wednesday].

"Similarly, we are pleased by the diligence of the electoral staff who visited voters at homes and places of confinement to administer home visits. These categories of voters would otherwise have not been able to record their political choice," he added.

Mamabolo said one of the biggest challenges the IEC had faced was taking an incident for one locality and making it a national issue without context.

Added to this, he stated "when you have people, this is IEC officials, who have different backgrounds you are going to have a problem".

Mamabolo said there was a clear orchestrated endeavour to paint the outcome of the election even before it happened.

"The commission wants to be resolute to protect the integrity of this election because South Africans have entrusted their right to vote on the IEC," he added.

Voters who were unable to cast a special vote can still vote at a voting station at which they are registered on Wednesday.

"The commission remains concerned with incidents of unlawful conduct directed at its operations or against electoral officials.

"Accordingly, we urge all South Africans, including political party members, supporters, and ordinary citizens to allow electoral officials to carry out their responsibilities.

"The commission thanks the law enforcement agencies for their support and continued safeguarding of the electoral process," Mamabolo said.

According to him, the lessons, and experiences over the two days of special votes were valuable and would be used to refine operations for Wednesday.

"The commission urges all the remaining 26 million eligible voters to go out and cast their votes tomorrow.

"The network of 23 292 voting stations will open for voting at 07:00 and close at 21:00.

"It is important to emphasise that eligible voters who will be at the voting station at 21:00 will be allowed to vote and not turned away. We reiterate that voters must vote where they are registered," Mamabolo said.

Meanwhile the Department of Home Affairs has extended operating hours for collections of Smart ID cards and temporary IDs ahead of the national polls on Wednesday.

The extension of its operating hours will see the doors open until 9pm on Tuesday night. The offices will also be open until 9pm on election day.

The department said the decision was due to an extremely positive response to the department’s extension of operating hours on Monday and today, our systems are overwhelmed.

"On observation of this, Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, directed the following; the Department to extend operating hours by an additional two hours to 21:00 today," the department said in a statement.

"And to reroute of mobile offices to areas experiencing high congestion levels."

Clients can book appointments to collect their Smart ID Cards and Green barcoded ID books before visiting offices by using the Branch Appointment Booking System (BABS), which is available at  www.dha.gov.za.