IEC widely criticised

The IEC has been widely criticised for being ill prepared for yesterday’s record voter turnout. Image: File/Fotor

IEC widely criticised for marathon queues, poorly trained staff

Political leaders and regular citizens agree that the IEC was ill prepared to handle yesterday’s record voter turnout …

IEC widely criticised

The IEC has been widely criticised for being ill prepared for yesterday’s record voter turnout. Image: File/Fotor

The IEC is coming under from all walks of society, following marathon queues, network failures, technical glitches, poorly trained staff and a general lack of preparedness during yesterday’s all-important 2024 vote. Even as polls were meant to close at 21h00 last night, queues at several voting stations run by the Electoral Commission of South Africa still snaked out the doors and around the blocks, forcing citizens to endure an arduous wait to exercise their democratic right to vote.   

IEC WIDELY CRITICISED

IEC
Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party leader Jacob Zuma at Ntolwane Primary School polling station in Nkandla on May 29, 2024, during South Africa. Image: RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP)

You know it has to be bad when Economic Freedom Front (EFF) leader Julius Malema is praised for his scathing attack on the IEC. Addressing media after waiting more than three hours to cast his vote in Seshego township he said: “They are deliberately slowing the voting process down to allow government to rig the elections.” Malema also bemoaned a lack of privacy at voting stations and confusion over the three-ballot system.

Wherever you look on social media, Mzansi is complaining about the conduct of the IEC. This particular author waited three hours and fifteen minutes to vote. At my local voting station, anyone who had reregistered a Section 24A was not on the voter’s roll. Pens with indelible ink were running dry by 10h00. Likewise, despite old-age pensioners having the chance to vote in days prior, they were shuffled to the front of the queue, adding hours to the waiting time for everyone else.

LACK OF CONFIDENCE

IEC
Voters wait in line outside the Johannesburg City Hall polling station in Johannesburg’s Central Business District, on May 29, 2024. Image: Michele Spatari / AFP

Of course, mine is just one of millions of stories of frustration and, frankly, disheartenment over the IEC’s ‘free and fair elections’. Because, the IEC has been talking up its preparedness for weeks leading up to the 2024 vote. Including how the voting process will be ‘impossible’ to rig. How the IEC has banished voter fraud through the use of high-tech voter management systems. And all the ways the votes themselves will be protected and counted. Plus how the results will be undeniably accurate.

Yesterday, IEC Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Masego Sheburi admitted that numerous problems were being experienced at voting stations. These included late delivery of materials, technical maladies and protests in certain areas, reports The Citizen. Sheburi tried to reaffirm that adequate supplies of all materials, including more than 90-million ballot papers, were available. Plus, even when scanners were offline, that the election process would be unaffected because of the manual voting process.

COMPLAIN TO THE IEC

South African general election 2024
An Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) official prepares ballot papers for voters at the Ntolwane Primary School polling station in Nkandla, on May 29, 2024. Image: RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP

Sheburi also stressed that the more than 230 000 IEC staff were adequately trained over four days to ensure they were ready. “Presiding officers, deputy presiding officers and voters’ roll officers were trained over four days. This covered logistics, handling, electoral administration, administration of voting stations as well as counting,” he concluded.

Sadly, as far as this author is concerned, four days’ training was clearly insufficient for the enormity of the occasion. You cannot expect voters – as political leaders like Malema have explained – to wait for more than three hours and feel uplifted by the experience. Likewise, seeing the patent disorganisation on display doesn’t fill anyone with confidence regarding the accuracy of the process. If you were unhappy with your IEC experience, we urge you to complete a voter feedback form HERE.

HAVE YOUR SAY

It’s time to have your say about your IEC experience. Image: Duncan P Walker

What did you think of the IEC and its preparedness? How long did you wait in your voting queue and what do you think the commission can do in four years’ time? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on X and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates. Click the links below to check out trending stories in the last 24 hours on our website …