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Appeal for calm as Electoral Commission extends objections deadline, tries to defuse counting debacle

Appeal for calm as Electoral Commission extends objections deadline, tries to defuse counting debacle
Commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission, Mosotho Moepya during a press conference outlining their readiness ahead of the final registration weekend. Pretoria, South Africa. 23 January 2019. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Deaan Vivier)

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has appealed for calm and for ‘voices of reason to continue to prevail’ as it tries to defuse the drama over vote-counting. The IEC has extended the deadline for objections.

The IEC has extended the deadline for objections to counting and capturing to 6pm on Saturday 1 June. 

The commission held a press conference on Saturday afternoon to provide an update on objections and vote capturing. The commission took no questions from journalists and said it would hold a second press conference later tonight. 

“As part of finalising the results management process, the commission wishes to assure this nation and everyone else that is following our elections, that we continue to place priority on the finalisation of these results, in a transparent and orderly manner. 

“We are not going to rush. We are not going to overlook anything,” said IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya. 

On Friday night, 17 political parties in the Western Cape submitted an urgent objection to the IEC in terms of Section 55 of the Electoral Act. The parties jointly called for an extension of the period for submitting formal complaints, until 48 hours after the last ballot paper has been scanned and submitted for verification. 

Party agents and IEC staff at the IEC Results Operation Centre in Midrand on 1 June 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Objections in Nelson Mandela Bay

Additionally, the DA is awaiting a ruling from the IEC on objections lodged in three districts in Nelson Mandela Bay. Daily Maverick has heard of 55 objections being lodged in the City of Johannesburg alone. 

Moepya said the IEC and its chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo have — after engaging with the party liaison committee (PLC) — received a request for the IEC to look at the objections that will be filed late. 

“I am very pleased — as we have communicated to the PLC — that the commission has, in fact, agreed to that request because there is a lot of goodwill that must be shown throughout this election compilation process,” said Moepya.

Moepya said the IEC had agreed that the objection process would continue until 6pm on Saturday evening.

“The commission welcomes this constructive way of allowing political parties and independent candidates to bring their deep-felt concerns to the commission, and for the commission to engage similarly. This is very important in an electoral contest,” he said. 

Every concern raised

He said that the IEC “wishes to reiterate that every concern raised in this objection [process] will be conceded, and we will do so carefully”.

“We are not going to be technical, we are going to look at the issues that are brought before us and we are going to consider them in the process of ensuring the integrity of these elections,” he said. 

“Where the commission finds materiality through the results process, it will order appropriate remedies — which in some instances may include specific recounts,” Moepya continued. 

Moepya said the IEC wishes to assure South Africa that it will take it into its confidence “right until the end”.

He appealed to all electoral stakeholders including political leaders, independent candidates, the media, civil society, traditional leadership and organised business “to please remain calm; for leaders to lead this nation at this time; and for voices of reason to continue to prevail”.

“This is a moment that we need to manage and manage well,” said Moepya. DM


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