MKP members raise alarm over suspected vote rigging method, IEC expresses concern over incidents reported

Videos by supporters of the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) have been making the rounds on X and TikTok alleging that “vote rigging” is in progress. Picture: Screenshot

Videos by supporters of the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) have been making the rounds on X and TikTok alleging that “vote rigging” is in progress. Picture: Screenshot

Published May 26, 2024


South Africans have taken to social media platforms to express concern over whether the upcoming general elections will be free and fair following the alleged unauthorised delivery of ballot papers in various places.

Videos by supporters of the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) have been making the rounds on X and TikTok alleging that “vote rigging” is in progress. The videos relate to activities at the storage sites of the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) in Chesterville and Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal.

Others ballots are alleged to have been transported, but it’s not clear where in the country.

Registered voters will cast special votes on Monday and on Tuesday, and eligible voters will cast their ballots on voting day on Wednesday.

About 27 million registered voters will elect lawmakers for the 400-member Parliament and provincial legislatures.

This is one of the most hotly contested elections since 1994, with a total of 70 registered political parties, including independent candidates, taking part.

All eyes will be on the ANC, which has been at the helm of power for 30 years, followed by opposition parties such as DA, EFF, IFP, ActionSA, the new MKP, the Patriotic Alliance, and more.

In the first video in an IEC storage facility in KZN, people wearing MKP regalia are seen complaining and asking questions about the ballots being delivered at the place.

Police in uniform are later seen collecting the black boxes and placing them in a truck. It looked like they were taking them to a safe place

“The ballot papers are being taken away by the police. We have no idea where are they being taken to,” said an MKP supporter recording a video.

The IEC said it noted with great concern incidents that had occurred in KZN.

“We wish to clarify that the videos depict our planned logistical arrangements and storage of election materials as we prepare for the first day of special voting on 27 May 2024. These are legitimate and authorised 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 unauthorised entry, burglary, and tampering with election materials and ensure detailed control and recording of all items in storage,” said IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela.

She said the IEC had noted another incident in eThekwini where a 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. Bulk material covers voting booths, voting station signage/banners and new unfolded ballot boxes.

“This bulk electoral material was taken to Cato Manor police station in eThekwini, in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Bapela.

She said the commission strongly condemned 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 authorised.

“We want to assure the public that additional measures have been implemented to secure these various storage sites across the country,” Bapela said.

In another video shared by an X user, Anami Sabela wrote “our democracy has ended”.

In the video, three vehicles are seen on CCTV being parked. The occupants are seen handling and exchanging what look like ballot boxes in their cars, and chatting before driving off.

This left users speculating that this might be part of vote rigging.

According to SAPS, South Africans are warned against publishing false news during this period.

“No person may publish any false information with the intention of (a) disrupting or preventing an election; (b) creating hostility or fear in order to influence the conduct or outcome of an election; or (c) influencing the conduct or outcome of an election,” said police.

Police national spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe was contacted for comment, but there had been no response from her at the time of going to print.

The Star

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