IEC ballot papers stolen in Soweto

African News Agency

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IEC - Electoral Commission of SA

Ballot boxes containing Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) ballot boxes for next week’s local government elections were stolen from a delivery vehicle in Diepkloof, Soweto, the commission said on Friday.

The boxes, stolen on Thursday night, contained ballot papers for wards 29 and 31 in Johannesburg.

“It is unlikely that the perpetrators were aware the boxes contained ballot papers as the vehicles and boxes are unmarked. However, as part of our security measures, each ballot book has a unique serial number allowing the Electoral Commission to identify exactly which ballots are affected and to quarantine these immediately,” the IEC said.

The commission said police have recovered two sets of ballot booklets and a number of others burnt.

The recovered ballots would remain quarantined. Contingency measures were in place to replace the ballot papers at the voting stations affected, the IEC said.

It said the stolen ballots would have no impact on the integrity of the elections in the two wards.

“As part of our security measures, each ballot book has a unique serial number allowing the Electoral Commission to identify exactly which ballots are affected and to quarantine these immediately. Given the known identity of these ballots as well as the security features built into the ballot papers themselves, the Electoral Commission is confident that the loss of these ballot papers can have no impact on the integrity of the elections.”

“The numbers of the missing booklets for Ward 29 are 127 – 146 and for Ward 31 are 76 – 113. Each book has 100 ballot papers,” the IEC said.

A police investigation into the theft of the ballot papers was continuing.

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