There was commotion outside an IEC results centre in Nelson Mandela Bay this afternoon after political parties discovered marked ballot papers at a tent outside the venue.
The ballot papers were found abandoned at the tent. They had Independent Electoral Commissions stamps on the back and Xs were placed near the logos of different political parties, including the ANC, Democratic Alliance and Congress of the People.
Former Nelson Mandela Mayor Nceba Faku, who was one of the first political leaders to arrive at the tent, was heard saying: “This is typical political fraud.”
The discovery of the ballot papers came as the ANC trailed the DA at the Nelson Mandela Metro at about 5pm. The DA was at 49.4% while the ANC had 39.2% of the votes.
Crosby Bacela, the regional IEC supervisor, said the ballots were put there deliberately.
“I don’t think there is anything to question about the results in Nelson Mandela Bay. No questions about the results because any ballots that are here have been counted. What I can see are the ballots that are either fell out of the box and that the people working on them left them lying on the ground,” he said.
Bacela agreed that “any ballot that is exposed or naked is regarded as serious”.
He said they would take the ballots and put them back safely in the box.
“I was inside and busy with the capturing, that when I was actually told. So, what we will do now is to speak to the warehouse people so that we put them in the boxes,” Bacela said.
Meanwhile, S’thembile Cele reports that the results of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro will be declared tonight.
Deputy chief electoral officer Simon Mamabolo said the marked papers found in Nelson Mandela Bay were in the “custody” of the IEC and there was no cause for alarm.
Mamabolo was at pains to explain that the commission continued to act with integrity and no one should be concerned
He added that political parties had 48 hours to lodge disputes, and the commission hoped to have dealt with disputes by the end of counting on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile van Damme said they accepted the IEC’s explanation and had no issues.