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WATCH | IEC admits low turnout, but says it's too early to tell just how bad it is

01 November 2021 - 23:05
The IEC said it was worried about low voter turnout, but said it was too early to tell how bad the situation was.
The IEC said it was worried about low voter turnout, but said it was too early to tell how bad the situation was.
Image: Thulani Mbele

As many South Africans fret over the seemingly dismal 2021 local government election turnout, the IEC said on Monday night that it was too early to tell just how good or bad the turnout was.

“I think it is the role of the media to continue to analyse, speculate and to project but from where we are sitting, we would like to remain as scientific as possible. So it might be at an early stage for the commission to make opinion, views and analysis,” said IEC chair Glen Mashinini at the national results centre in Pretoria on Monday night.

Mashinini was responding to questions from the journalists on what some of the data collated showed with regards to the voter turnout. He responded by saying that the commission was still collecting the information.

“It’s not that we are not noting your questions as to whether this raised matters of confidence and no confidence. Does it raise the issues of dismal performance or that there is a problem with the VMD? I think one thing we as South Africans have to really look at is that we are on a journey with the electoral system,” he said. 

IEC’s commissioner, Mosotho Moepya, agreed with Mashinini, saying: “We are measuring voter turnout as we go on this occasion. We are not able to give you comparative figures today but at the next election, at the end of the day we will be able to tell you whether we have done well or not.

“Let’s get to closing because as you will recall every voting station will keep a complete record with every number that came to vote ... and those who lodged objections. In every election, the electoral commission does a survey,  part of that is to ask people what challenges they have had.”

The commission announced shortly after 9pm that all voting stations had been officially closed and that the counting of votes would commence.

Earlier during a press briefing at the national results centre, the media was told that people who were still in the queue by the cut-off time would be allowed to vote. 

Updating the media , Dr Nomsa Masuku said that by 5pm 8-million South Africans had voted at the 23,148 voting stations, including the few whose opening was delayed in the morning.

She said there were glitches that the commission was dealing with.

“We have noted reports from our call centre, regarding some registered voters who can’t find their names on the voters' roll or approved MEC7 list. The commission is attending and responding to complaints as they are raised. The MEC7 list has been updated and we continue to communicate with affected voters.” 

She said investigations had also been concluded into the reports of a shortage of ballot papers in several voting districts.

“We are happy to report that the shortages from distribution issues have been resolved.” 

She also said that the 20 voting stations that did not open in KwaZulu-Natal due to community protests had since opened, along with 19 in the Eastern Cape.


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