IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo addressing journalists in Pretoria. PHOTO: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo addressing journalists in Pretoria. PHOTO: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo addressing journalists in Pretoria. PHOTO: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA

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Electoral official in firing line for losing ballot boxes in Limpopo

PRETORIA, May 7  – The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on Tuesday said it has suspended an area manager in Limpopo after a pack of three “unused and unassembled” ballot boxes was found by the roadside.

“A pack of three unused and unassembled ballot boxes was found on the side of the road in Tzaneen, Limpopo. Investigations show that it was lost in transport by an area manager. This person has been suspended from office and will be discharged from duty for gross negligence,” chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo told journalists at the National Results Operations Centre in Pretoria.

“The ballot boxes were recovered by the South African Police Service and returned to the electoral commission. The commission appreciates the vigilance of party agents and voters in monitoring the election process and in bringing to its attention any potential problems. This should be done firstly at the voting station through presiding officers. If not resolved, it should be raised through existing channels including the party liaison structures.”

In another incident, Mamabolo said the IEC has removed a deputy presiding officer from a voting station in Benoni, in Gauteng, following a probe into a video showing a party agent assisting with the transfer of special votes into a ballot box at a voting station.

“Party agents are not permitted to handle any election material and may also observe and raise objections if circumstances necessitate,” said Mamabolo.

Tuesday was the second day, of the two days set aside for special votes across South Africa, ahead of the tightly contested general elections on Wednesday.

Mamabolo said the IEC’s 22,924 voting stations are ready to open at 7am on Wednesday, welcoming South Africa’s 26.7 million registered voters.

“Some 200,000 election officials are in place and ready to conduct voting between 7am and 9pm tomorrow. Voting will continue after 9pm at stations were voters may still be waiting in the queues at 9pm,” said Mamabolo.

Registered voters are reminded to carry their valid identification documents — either the green barcoded ID book, a smart card ID, or the temporary identification certificate.

Branches of the department of home affairs will be open on Wednesday between 7am and 8pm to assist voters who need temporary identification certificates as well as the collection of smart ID cards. (ANA)

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