No selfies with ballot papers, says IEC

JOHANNESBURG – Election officials say they’re confident that they’re ready for the polls.

They’ve stressed that these elections are the biggest ever in South Africa.

But they’ve also issued a warning, saying people must not take selfies of their ballots.

“Voters are reminded that it is prohibited to take a photograph or “selfie” of their marked ballot paper. This is essential to protect the secrecy and integrity of their vote and the process,” said IEC chief electoral officer Mosotho Moepya at the national results operations centre in Tshwane.

“We encourage voters to rather take a picture of their marked thumb to show they have voted and to post these on social media with the hashtag #iVoted to encourage further participation.”

Deputy chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said that taking pictures of the ballot papers presented several problems.

“What is the commission trying to do by prohibiting the taking of selfies of the marked ballots? It is to ensure that there is no abuse of power relations either within the households, within the employment situation and also within the cultural context where husbands may demand wives to produce selfies of their marked ballot,” said Mamabolo.

“This is therefore a measure to safeguard the secrecy of the vote, especially for those that are vulnerable in society. Power relations are not equal in society and this is an equaliser. The issue of selfies is not a gratuitous interference with people using their cellphones.”

Risk assessments

At least 16,000 law enforcement officers would be spread across Gauteng to ensure peaceful local government elections on Wednesday.

Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Tuesday, said risk assessments have been done across the province’s 2763 voting stations.

“There are over 16,000 law enforcement officials who have been deployed at the various voting stations. An additional 1143 officers have been deployed to high risk areas,” Nkosi-Malobane said on Tuesday.

Premier David Makhura said voting day belonged to South African voters.

“The political parties have done their work, [Wednesday] belongs to voters, they have the final say,” Makhura said.

Makhura, Nkosi-Malobane and provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Deliwe De Lange visited the provincial IEC results centre in Auckland Park on Tuesday, which also marked the end of the casting of special votes. – Additional reporting eNCA

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