Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Durban - Some observers at the recently concluded elections in KZN have raised concerns about the conduct of some IEC staff members and party agents at polling stations, recommending that there should be adequate training for the two groups.

In a four-page preliminary report issued by the Democracy Development Programme and Independent Lawyers and compiled based on accounts provided by 150 observers who were scattered across the province, among other things, the observers claimed that some people, due to long queues that started when stations ran out of material, were seen leaving stations without voting. 

More concerning to the observers was the conduct of party agents and IEC staff conducting the elections.

"Party agents were overwhelming in their presence at some stations. In other stations, party agents were seen intimidating voters and observers in some stations. Some parties did not adequately train and deploy their agents," part of the report reads. 

The report took another dig at IEC officials as observers noted that some staff members were not clued up with some provisions like Section 24 (A) which allows a voter to vote in another station if forced by circumstances to be outside his or her voting station on voting day.

"IEC representatives were not adequately clued up on on the process of Section 24 (A). Some of the officials either dismissed the intended voters or as they ran out of materials, wrote on scraps of paper. This document compromised the nature of what an affidavit is meant to be," the observers wrote about the many litanies of concerns it had about the conduct of IEC staff.

The observers also noted with concern that some members of the electoral staff did not have identification tags.

"Electoral staff were not properly trained as it was observed that some don't know the difference between an observer and a party agent," they said, adding that report is not meant to cast aspersions on anyone as the report was a preliminary one. 

A full and final report will be compiled by the two groups and handed over to the IEC within 30 days.

Political Bureau