These election fraud rumours are going viral - here's what's really going on

Business Insider SA
SA Elections 2019
As South Africa took to the polls yesterday, several videos and controversial rumours began to go viral over social media. Source Facebook.

As South Africans took to the polls on Wednesday, several videos and controversial rumours went viral.

In an era of misinformation, journalists across the country had their hands full debunking the myths and sifting through fiction.

Meanwhile the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has launched a number of investigations, and has appealed to South Africans to report any evidence of any electoral fraud or significant irregularity.

Business Insider South Africa has compiled some of the reports, and checked whether they were true.  

A viral video of “racist” election queues in Wellington, Cape Town – debunked.

News24 debunked a video purporting to show people divided along race in two separate voting queues in Wellington, in the Western Cape.

They spoke with Courtney Sampson, Western Cape IEC head, who said the viral video was, in fact, depicting a logistical decision by election officials to accommodate students filling in VEC4 forms. VEC4 forms are used to accommodate voters who are not voting in the voting station that they are registered in. 

Cases of voters voting twice – true. (Updated* 16h00)

Potentially one of the most disturbing rumours to come out of this year’s elections are cases of voters claiming to have been able to vote twice.

The IEC said that where evidence is found to support electoral fraud, they will quarantine the results of the affected voting districts and pursue criminal charges against the perpetrators.

* News24 have reported that 19 people were arrested in three KwaZulu-Natal municipalities for "double voting", provincial Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) officials said on Thursday afternoon.

'Indelible' ink, used to marked thumbs, is easy to remove - true. 

The IEC said it will demand answers from its supplier about what could have gone wrong with the "indelible" ink pens used in Wednesday's election – and which some parties say were not indelible at allBusiness Insider South Africa was able to source that the IEC awarded a tender worth R2.7 million for the supply of the pens in February 2018. 

Both experts and tender documents suggest there are multiple ways indelible ink can fail, especially if you skimp on the silver.

READ NOW: The pens that marked voter thumbs cost millions - here's why their secret ink may have failed

Cases of ballot boxes being manipulated or tampered with improperly - under investigation.

Several reports of misplaced and tampered ballot boxes were doing the rounds. In cases where there was sufficient evidence, the IEC cracked down hard and with swift retribution. 

A 'Ballot box' found at a house turns out to be full of toilet rolls.

The Citizen reported that the ANC had seen a stolen ‘Ballot box' being stashed away in a DA home in Helenvale in Port Elizabeth. When police and the military arrived it turned out to be a black utility container full of toilet rolls. The DA chalked the incident up as a political ploy by the ANC to defame the party. 

IEC removed a deputy presiding officer from Benoni voting station – true.

News24 reported the IEC removed a deputy presiding officer from Benoni voting station. This was after a viral video showed a party agent helping to transfer special votes from a ballot bag, used during Special voting home visits, to a ballot box in the voting station.

The IEC said, while the transfer of the special votes from bags to ballot boxes was a normal procedure, handling of the electoral material by any party agent was prohibited.

Bantu Holomisa, United Democratic Movement leader, posted this video of an election official adding ballot papers to a ballet box in her car, in Ermelo.  

The South African picked up on the tweet and talked to the EFF party agent, Jabu Thwala, who caught the female election official placing ballot papers into an unsealed ballet box.  The IEC dismissed the woman, with immediate effect.

Holomisa also posted a second video this time in Benoni, where EFF party members caught an IEC official carrying three ballot boxes unchaperoned by police.

According to IEC regulations a police officer must escort boxes to a vehicle for transport to prevent any manipulation.

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