Political parties concerned by leaked party lists raising concerns ahead of the elections

The Electoral Commission of South Africa fired the employee who leaked election candidate lists. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers

The Electoral Commission of South Africa fired the employee who leaked election candidate lists. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 13, 2024


Cape Town - Following the announcement by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) that it had fired the employee who leaked election candidate lists, political parties have raised concerns about the commission’s capabilities to deliver the upcoming general elections.

The ANC and uMkhonto WeSizwe’s (MK) candidate lists were leaked on social media after submissions were made on Friday, before the IEC could make an official announcement.

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo confirmed yesterday that the implicated official’s contract had been terminated following an investigation. He said aside from the ANC and MK candidate lists, the staff member also allegedly downloaded other political parties’ information.

“The (individual’s) computer is being subjected to a forensic analysis. The downloads were not only related to those parties (ANC and MK). There were a whole lot of other parties that were downloaded,” said Mamabolo.

He said the official was given an opportunity to make representations as to why their employment should not be terminated.

“We received the representations, and on that basis, we terminated the employment relationship.”

Werner Horn, DA national spokesperson, said some unanswered questions remained.

“That is, first, whether the official had the authority to access the specific lists, and if not, how it transpired that the official ultimately was able to access the lists. Given the fact that the lists at this point still had to be processed internally by the IEC and were in no way yet ripe for publication, one must also ask why the system allowed the extraction of the lists in the first place,” said Horn.

“Having said that, the credibility of the IEC and their ability to deliver free and fair elections on May 29 of course hinges on a variety of aspects, and in respect of the more substantive matters that they have been responsible for, like the registration of voters, it is, of course, so that the voter roll grew by at least 1 million voters, and in this year’s registration period, the online registration platform performed much better than in 2021.”

Masizole Mnqasela, Alliance of Citizens for Change (ACC) leader, said they were deeply concerned by the case.

“The period before elections, the period during the elections, and the period after the elections are very crucial in the pursuit of a free, fair, and credible election. We are seriously concerned, and we view these developments in a very serious light, and we want to condemn them in the strongest terms and really implore the electoral commission to respect this process, take the elections seriously, and ensure that not one person will doubt the outcome of the election process itself,” said Mnqasela.