IEC Says Most Votes Will Be Counted Today

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says most of the local government election votes will be counted by the end of Tuesday.

The IEC said at 10.30 am on Tuesday, 27% of the 64 502 results expected, had been finalised.

“This status is in line with the expected result capturing process,” said Sy Mamabolo, IEC chief electoral officer (CEO) at a press briefing..

“It is estimated that 90 percent of results would be finalised by the evening. 

“The balance of 10 percent would take another 24 hours to complete.” 

Final results are expected to be announced on Thursday.

Statistics revealed that the Northern Cape had completed 74% of its results. It was followed by the Western Cape at 46%.

In third position comes the Free State at 26%. The rest of the provinces’ completion rate ranges between 15% and 37%.

Mamabolo said the result capturing involved several processes, including the verification of the result slips, the capturing, scanning and the auditing of the results.

“An independent audit firm has been procured for purposes of auditing the results,” he said.

The IEC also bemoaned political party leaders for “unwarranted” attacks on the Commission. It urged party leaders to act and speak responsibly as the result collation process unfolds.

The CEO said: “As you will recall, the commission had anticipated the prospect of a lower voter turnout already in July and approached the Constitutional Court. 

“Nonetheless, the commission implemented an extensive education and communication campaign to ensure that voters turn out. This included educational programmes that assured voters that it will be safe to be at a voting station.”

He said it was important to realise that voter turnout was a “multifaceted phenomenon influenced by different factors”.

“Some of the elements that motivate voters to go relate to factors outside of the purview of the commission such as disruptions to services, levels of trust in political institutions. 

“Regrettably, unwarranted attacks on the commission could potentially also influence voter turnout,” he said.

“In the analysis of voter turnout, the Covid-19 context in which the election happened should not be forgotten. The national message has been that people must not be in congregated environments.”

On Voter Management Devices (VMD), the commission said it believes that these were the “mainstay equipment” for this election.

Mamabolo said the devices ensured that the IEC continued to meet the constitutional court’s injunction that voters only vote in the wards in which they are registered and that every voter must have an address on the voters’ roll.

Over the voting period, the IEC said it processed 12.1 million votes through the VMDs.

“This means that we are confident that these voters voted in the wards in which they are ordinarily resident. This is an important control measure in a local government election.

“Through the use of the technology, the commission was able for the first time to register voters and simultaneously capture their addresses during the registration weekend in September,” said Mamabolo. 

“Address capturing would have taken months to complete without the VMD as was previously the case.”