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Unused ballot papers cause a stir

Durban - More than 1 500 unused and spoiled ballots papers have been found in Pinetown.

NFP councillor Wiseman Mcoyi holds ballot papers that were found abandoned in Pinetown. Photo: Jacques Naude. Credit: INLSA

The papers were found abandoned at a municipal building, which had been used as a voting station during the elections.

The National Freedom Party (NFP) in KwaZulu-Natal said that, while nothing could be done about on Monday’s discovery, 12 days after the elections, it cast suspicion over the fairness of the results.

The material was found in an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) box together with other voting material, such as IEC stamps and VEC4 Section 24A forms, inside the council chamber in the building.

NFP member S’bu Gwala said that he had been tipped off about the box. “There were other boxes, which were collected soon after we made the discovery,” said Gwala.

IEC spokesman Thabani Ngwira said concerns about the papers were baseless and that they did not affect the results.

NFP treasury-general Helene Vice said that the IEC should have collected the ballot papers on the morning of May 9, to be stored safely at a warehouse at its provincial offices.

“How did they confirm that the results were fair if so many ballot papers were left lying like this?” she asked.

NFP councillor Wiseman Mcoyi said that IEC provincial head Mawethu Mosery should explain how the papers had been abandoned.

Ngwira confirmed that the ballot papers should have been taken to the warehouse for safekeeping.

However, he later said the material had not been abandoned, because it had been kept at the municipality building, which was an extension of the IEC provincial offices.

“We have 62 IEC offices in all the municipalities in the province. Those papers are not abandoned if they are kept there. They will be collected for disposal. The counting… is done at each voting station and party agents sign the result slips right there,” he said.

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