MK Party and IEC clash again over vote rigging claims in Durban after viral Tiktok video

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo speaking at the Results Operations Centre in Midrand. Picture: Sihle Mlambo/IOL

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo speaking at the Results Operations Centre in Midrand. Picture: Sihle Mlambo/IOL

Published May 26, 2024


The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) and the Umkhonto Wesizwe (MK) Party have clashed again after a video showing boxed ballot papers stored in a room at a warehouse in Hammarsdale.

According to the person who filmed the video, which is going viral on social media, the ballot papers and the election material were not secured at a warehouse at Hammarsdale and the person who was in control of the warehouse was “just a person in a yellow T-shirt” - supposedly making a claim they were an African National Congress official.

Ballot papers are supposed to be delivered to voting stations on the day of the elections.

IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said the videos from Hammarsdale and the Chesterville depots showed their “planned logistical arrangements and storage of election materials as we prepare for the first day of special voting on Monday, 27 May 2024”.

“These are legitimate and authorized 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 unauthorized entry, burglary, and tampering with election materials and ensure detailed control and recording of all items in storage,” said Bapela.

According to the IEC, those who were in the storage facility should have never been allowed in the first place.

IOL reached out to MK Party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela for comment, but he could not be reached on his phone as his phone went straight to voicemail.

Later, Ndhlela said in a statement that the events of Hammarsdale undermined the integrity of electoral processes.

”Notably, members of the MK Party stationed in Mpumalanga Township, Hammarsdale, reported a suspicious truck entering the area on 25 May 2024. This vehicle was loaded with critical voting materials, including approximately 400 ballot boxes and scanners, which are alleged to be intended for ANC members in the area,” said Ndhlela.

“The events points to a systemic problem that not only threatens the democratic fabric of our nation but affirms the MK Party's long-held view that the IEC is partisan towards Cyril Ramaphosa's ANC by allowing the rigging of elections, including in the 2019 elections when Ramaphosa was controversially elected as SA President,” said Ndhlela.

Duduzile Sambudla-Zuma, the daughter of former president Jacob Zuma, and a candidate for Parliament through the MK Party’s list to Parliament, said in a post on X to the IEC.

“Why were we not informed as parties and why was there only ANC members present?”

She said this in a post wherein the IEC clarified that "the security provided (at the Hammarsdale facility) was sufficient per plan but not aligned to a politically motivated group invasion.

“Additional measures have been taken to secure and reconcile the materials in these videos. At the voting station ballots and all election material will still be opened in the presence of party agents, observers and media”.

Sambudla-Zuma said further: “STOP LYING!!! We are not fools! We are not your children! When you decided to be a political party we told you we would treat you as such!”

“No cases opened against me shall prosper…@IECSouthAfrica MUST account!!!

I am not scared of you or any threats!!”


ActionSA’s KZN Premier candidate Zwakele Mncwango said they engaged the IEC on the matter and they were now urging voters “to remain calm and understand that the movement of ballot boxes is a standard procedure”.

“The departure of the SAPS just before the boxes were moved created an unfortunate situation. However, all is well, and no fraudulent activity took place,” said Mncwango.

The Inkatha Freedom Party were also alarmed by the video.

The IFP’s national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa also posted on X: “what's going on here?”.

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa, speaking at the party’s final election rally in Umhlathuze, said they had noted the video from Hammarsdale concerning ballot papers and election material.

“Let us all go watch over the election process with an eagle’s eye at voting stations because we must not allow any opportunity for voter fraud.

“We saw what happened in Hammarsdale, let us all stand up as volunteers of the IFP, members and co-ordinators, let us protect our rights and our votes.

“Let us not be given a government we don't want, a government that has failed to bring changes to our lives,” said Hlabisa.

Bapela said those who entered the warehouse facility did so without authorisation and they “filmed their unauthorised activities”.

“The Commission further notes that members of MK are now at the provincial warehouse of the Commission where the ballots were returned.

“No party will be allowed to gain entry into the warehouse premises of the Commission.

“We instruct the leadership of the MK Party to immediately leave the warehouse as the Commission urgently needs to finalize the distribution of election material,” said Bapela.

IEC Commissioner Masego Sheburi said the commission would provide further details about the steps that they had taken. He said they were in touch with the SAPS and the MK Party, saying the events seen in the videos were electoral offences and interference with the work of the commission.

“We should be able to indicate the specific steps taken to deal with the incident at the next briefing,” said Sheburi.

NATJOINTS response to MK claims

Deputy National Commissioner Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili, the co-chairperson of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) said there was a distribution plan in place which is categorized in terms of non-security and security material.

She said the KZN Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (ProvJoints) have responded accordingly on the Hammarsdale and Chesterville matters.

“What I can indicate is that we do have authorized persons and authorized agencies to respond, including the issue of access to certain areas where these materials are kept. 

“We do work together with the IEC in terms of the security plan and we do have officials on the ground who do know when to respond and how to respond. 

“We want to emphasize to the political parties not to interfere with these security issues. If they are unauthorized to be in certain areas, they are unauthorized and such transgression will be responded to,” said Mosikili.

Chesterville incident

The commission said in Chesterville, an IEC presiding officer was woken up at home in the middle of the night about bulk material stored at the Baptist Church voting station in Chesterville.

Bapela said the bulk voter material including voting booths, voting station signage/banners and new unfolded ballot boxes was subsequently taken to the Cato Manor police station.

“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,” said Bapela.

“The Commission strongly condemns threats to its staff. 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 authorized,”said Bapela.

Voting for special voters kicks of between Monday and Tuesday, while the bulk of the 27 million people registered for these elections will vote on Wednesday.

** This story has been updated to include comment from the MK Party and the NATJOINTS.