Voter survey a vote of confidence in IEC but myriad of issues, violence occurs

South Africa is celebrating recent free and fair elections. l SHELLEY KJONSTAD/INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

South Africa is celebrating recent free and fair elections. l SHELLEY KJONSTAD/INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Published Jun 1, 2024


Cape Town – The Human Sciences Research Council, which carried out an Election Satisfaction Survey, reveals that those who queued for 15 minutes and less saw a 96% trust in the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) while the level of trust of those who queued for several hours was at 74%.

Dr Benjamin Roberts, research director of the HSRC, who addressed the media on Moday, said queuing played a role in their survey.

“The queuing times did have an instrumental effect on assessment of election day; even those who queued the longest were positive,” he said.

“The survey revealed voters overwhelmingly believed that the elections were free and fair and trust in the commission was high and most voters felt safe to cast their ballots in secrecy.

“The majority felt that the commission considered vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and pregnant women to those, (as well as those) who are partially sighted.”

The survey was conducted at 300 voting stations nationally with 13 000 interviews completed.

The survey indicates that 63% of voters penned their ballots to make a difference, while 38% said it was for better services and 37% to fight corruption.

Roberts added in regard to fairness in the elections, that despite the long queues, comparing the numbers between the 2019 and 2024 elections, 84% found staff to be helpful, while 83% thought the process was fair.

The council said 12% felt coerced to vote, 4% said they felt pressured by a party and another 4% by family or friends, while more than half of the voters agreeing to electronic voting and 15% disagreeing.

The queues impacted electoral survey outcome. l LEON LESTRADE/INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Meanwhile, EMS workers responded to 25 gunshot incidents and 259 assault cases. Eskom was forced to suspend operations in Zwezwe in Khayelitsha following a hijacking and robbery of their staff on polling day which left one person injured.

Earlier it was reported that 10 people were arrested on voting day, one of which is a 64-year-old man who appeared in court on charges relating to him allegedly voting twice.

Memes surfaced on social media about load shedding following the end of voting with residents in Zwezwe, Khayelitsha having a taste of being without electricity. This was after operations were temporarily suspended due to the hijacking and robbery of Eskom staff at gunpoint on Wednesday.

Eskom said their team was attacked and were threatened with guns and robbed of their cellphones. They were forced into the back of the vehicle.

The hijackers, in their haste to get away, crashed the vehicle and one of the staff members sustained a broken leg.

“As a result of this incident, there will be a delay in electricity restoration efforts and customers may experience prolonged durations without electricity.,” said Mbulelo Yedwa, GM of the Cape Coastal Cluster for Eskom.

Provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Andre Traut, added that despite the arrests made, the elections ran smoothly with minimal criminal incidents. SAPS had deployed extra staff at so-called high risk areas.

“A well-executed operational plan to police the 2024 general elections in the province is attributed to the absence of lawlessness or incidents to disrupt the voting process.”

Byron La Hoe, of the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness Emergency Medical Services, also commended their staff who worked tirelessly between Monday and Wednesday during the election period.

They responded to 609 calls related to trauma (466) and transport (143) over the 2024 elections period.

Of these, there were 25 gunshot wounds, 183 assault with a weapon and 76 physical assault.

“As we share these statistics, we also want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the men and women of our EMS teams. Their dedication goes beyond duty. It's a testament to their profound commitment to the health and well-being of our communities,” he added.

A total of 23 292 voting stations were operational across the country, with more than 1 000 in the Western Cape.

The 2024 poll has been described as free and fair elections. l FILE

The highest number of voting stations were in Kwazulu-Natal (4 974), Eastern Cape (4 868) and Limpopo (3 216).

The IEC distributed 1 873 tons of material between the different warehousing and storage facilities across the country.

The IEC did not respond to queries on how many ballots or pens and bottles of water, or how many staff were deployed for the duration of the election period. The administrative information will only be available following the end of the imperative counting period.

In the 2023/24 financial year, the Electoral Commission was allocated R2.232 billion.

The Electoral Commission is allocated R2.302 billion for the 2024/25 financial year, of which R322.2 million was transferred during April 2024.

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