Man who took selfie one of 97 arrested

Time of article published May 8, 2014

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Michelle Jones

ONE Northern Cape man opted not to heed the warning of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and was caught taking a selfie inside the voting booth yesterday.

He was one of 97 people across the country arrested by law enforcement officials for election-related offences, the majority of which were for intimidation.

The man had been caught taking the selfie at about 11am at the Presbyterian Church in Upington, said Bonolo Modise, Northern Cape electoral officer for the IEC.

“The person went into the station to vote. He went to the booth and, instead of voting, took out his cellphone,” Modise said.

“He was seen by the presiding officer who notified police who were around.”

He said the man was then handed over to police.

Modise said that was the only incident which had taken place at voting stations in that province.

“It is a good day, a quiet day so far.”

A number of people took to Twitter to post photographs of their election selfies.

Others then let the IEC know by retweeting those photographs.

“While we appreciate citizens bringing illegal selfies to our attention, we ask that you please not RT photos of marked ballots,” tweeted the IEC.

On Sunday, the IEC called on South Africans not to take selfies in the voting booth, saying that it spoilt the secrecy of the vote.

“It is an offence to take and/or publish photographs which reveal a person’s vote on a ballot paper,” it said.

“Upon conviction, offenders will be liable to a fine or a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year.”

Local celebrity DJ Sbu also flouted the law banning election photographs.

The radio and television personality posted photographs of his ballot paper, clearly showing his vote for the ANC, on Twitter and Facebook.

“#Provincial I also voted for the ONLY movement with enough capacity to take this country forward. #VivaANC,” read the caption.

After a number of people commented to say what he had done was illegal, the photographs were removed.

The majority of South Africans had gone to the polls in a “festive and peaceful spirit”, said the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) in a statement yesterday.

The structure co-ordinated all security and law enforcement operations throughout the country.

It had been “satisfied that all deployments are in place and that the General Election 2014 is proceeding smoothly”, Natjoints said.

“To date, 97 individuals have been arrested by law enforcement officials for election-related offences, and 131 cases have been registered.

“The Natjoints is appreciative of the festive and peaceful spirit in which the citizens of South Africa have taken to the polls, despite long queues in some areas,” said police spokesman Solomon Makgale.

He said aside from intimidation, other election-related offences included damage to property and disruption of events.

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