All voting stations in Free State operational, despite early challenges – IEC


The IEC in the Free State has denied allegations regarding the opening of voting stations. (Alfonso Nqunjana/News24)


The IEC in the Free State has denied allegations regarding the opening of voting stations. (Alfonso Nqunjana/News24)

  • The Electoral Commission of South Africa in the Free State denied claims of voting stations not opening on Wednesday.
  • The IEC’s Itumeleng Liba said they were looking into an incident at Bloemfontein South High School, where voters were only given two ballots.
  • Find everything you need to know about the 2024 general elections on News24’s Elections Hub.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) in the Free State denied allegations regarding the opening of voting stations across the province on Wednesday.

Contrary to reports suggesting that several stations in the province had not opened, IEC provincial manager Itumeleng Liba said that all stations had been operational on time.

He explained that discrepancies had arisen due to the voter management devices (VMDs) not reflecting the stations as open, as a result of signal issues. 

“All stations in the Free State opened, and they opened on time,” Liba told News24 at the ROC in Bloemfontein.

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“Voting stations must be opened on the VMD, and where there is no signal or where there is a problem with the signal, the station will still be reflected as closed even though it is opened on the ground.”

Liba added that the Free State, particularly Bloemfontein, faced two main challenges.

“The first one is that the queues were a bit slow in the morning, and coupled with that, our machines were losing signal,” he said.

He added:

The second biggest problem is that people came to vote at stations where they are not registered.

During News24’s visit to the Bloemfontein South High School voting station, it was discovered that voters had only received two ballot papers.

The incident sparked widespread frustrations.

Liba said he was only made aware of the issue during a meeting with political parties on Wednesday afternoon.

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“It is through the obvious ignorance of the person who is the presiding officer, but we sent our supervisor back to understand what the problem is, and we are correcting it,” he said.

“They [voters] will be given the third vote ballot that they were not given in the morning.

“I am confident to say that everything is going well [in the Free State], except those few instances mentioned.”

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