The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been granted permission to apply its own seal to ballot boxes during the upcoming general election, which the party says will help protect the integrity of the results.
The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says the Electoral Act allows political parties to attach their own seals to ballot boxes to ensure they are not tampered with.
In the aftermath of the 2014 election, ballot boxes were found in various areas of Gauteng — namely Alexandra, Diepsloot and Lynnwood Ridge — according to reports at the time.
Although no fraud was found to have been committed, the IEC admitted at the time that the procedure set out to handle the ballot boxes after the votes were counted had not been followed.
Following the discovery, the Economic Freedom Fighters alleged that the result in Gauteng was rigged, although there was no proof of this.
The May 8 polls are expected to be closely fought, particularly in provinces such as Gauteng and the North West, where every vote cast will count to determine who governs.
The governing party’s own polling in Gauteng shows that the province could swing either way, with its support standing at 50% among registered voters.
The Mail & Guardian understands that the DA will apply its own seals to ballot boxes, which the party itself will break when the votes are counted. According to sources within the party, this is being done to “protect votes” and assist in ensuring the credibility of the result.
In response to questions from the M&G, the IEC confirmed this.
“It is correct that political parties may bring their own seals and attach to full ballot boxes, as prescribed in the Electoral Act. This has been the case in all elections,” the commission said.
The aim of the seal on ballot boxes is to ensure that the ballot boxes are not tampered with. The commission also provides seals for all ballot boxes.