POLITICS - A case of alleged electoral fraud has been opened with the South African Police Services in the Nkomazi Municipality in Mpumalanga following an incident during the municipal ward by-elections held on Wednesday.
The case was opened after a party agent raised the alarm, claiming two voters had been allowed to vote in the ward 15 by-election despite not being on the relevant segment of the voters’ roll and not residing in the ward, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said in a statement.
“Immediately after receiving the complaint, the Electoral Commission’s representative opened a case with the SAPS and three election officials were immediately relieved of their duties. The Electoral Commission will cooperate with and provide support to the investigation,” the statement said.
“The alleged electoral fraud had no material impact on the outcome of the election in the ward where the winning candidate received 85,67% of the valid votes cast.”
The Electoral Commission views any allegations of electoral fraud in the most serious light and will not hesitate to take the strongest possible action against any voters or officials who contravene the law, the IEC said.
“The Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act (27 of 2000) and its associated regulations make it an offence to vote in a ward in which a voter is not registered or resident. It is also an offence for any person to assist a person to vote where they are not entitled to.”
Penalties for conviction of electoral fraud range from a fine to up to 10 years in prison.
“The Commission appreciates the vigilance of party agents, observers and other voters in monitoring the election process and raising any problems and potential irregularities including electoral fraud.
“This should be done firstly at the voting station through the Presiding Officer and, if the matter is not resolved, then it should be raised through the existing channels including the party liaison structures.
“Providing as much detail as possible of any incident – including where and when it occurred – significantly speeds up the investigation process,” the statement concluded.