9 May 2019

South Africa: 20 Held for Double Voting

Twenty people have been arrested for allegedly after trying to vote for a second time during the 2019 National and Provincial Elections, says the South African Police Service (SAPS).

"Nineteen suspects have been arrested in KwaZulu-Natal, of which 16 are alleged to have transgressed in Danhauser, two in Hluhluwe and one in Port Shepstone, while the 20th suspect was arrested in Douglasdale in Gauteng," the SAPS said in a statement on Thursday.

These suspects are alleged to have contravened Section 88 (d) of the Electoral Act 73/1998, whereby a person tries to cast more votes than a person is entitled to.

Millions of registered voters participated in the country's sixth general election on Wednesday at a time when South Africa celebrates 25 years of democracy.

"These arrests are indicative that the security features employed by the Electoral Commission (IEC) to prevent 'double voting' from taking place are, in fact, effective. The four layers of security are effectively implemented to protect the integrity of the election process," SAPS said.

The police have warned people bragging on social media about having cast "double votes", as it is a transgression of the Electoral Act.

"We have also taken note of the various video clips and messages that have been posted on social media, most of which have been dealt with decisively.

"In one case, IEC officials were immediately relieved of their duties after they were found 'operating' from the back of a bakkie. The matter of the election boxes that were found on the side of a road was clarified when people assumed they were voting material and in other cases, people are being charged criminally," SAPS said.

The Joint Operational and Intelligence Structures at all levels will continue to monitor all areas around the country to ensure the electoral process continues peacefully.

"We are now currently in the post-election phase... However, the results collation process is still underway and as results [at local level] are being announced, it is expected that celebrations will start," the SAPS said.

The police have appealed to South Africans who will be engaging in celebrations after the elections to do so responsibly.

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