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IEC To Blame For Delays At Voting Stations In WC – Hendrickse

Michael Hendrickse, the head of elections in the Western Cape, acknowledged that recent amendments to electoral legislation had complicated the training of election personnel.

He expressed regret for the technical issues that extended the wait times at polling stations, with lines persisting until midnight on Wednesday.

Nationally, the functionality of voter management devices was disappointing, casting doubt on their prior testing by the Electoral Commission.

Hendrickse is openly accepting criticism from voters.

He attributed the significant delays at polling locations throughout the province directly to the IEC.

“Forty-four thousand machines operating simultaneously, accessing a database, and requiring connectivity among other needs, are aspects we must address,” he stated.

Despite this being the second election to utilize these devices, Hendrickse noted that the introduction of a third ballot and recent legislative changes, implemented just two weeks prior, contributed to the complications.

“This time, with the introduction of a third ballot, there were numerous new features added. All these components were active concurrently.”

“I’m also disappointed and owe an apology to the public because they deserve better from the IEC than enduring such lengthy waits. We must acknowledge this openly and apologize to the citizens,” he added.

The election flow improved when officials were instructed to revert to the manual voter registration, Hendrickse noted.

“The issue isn’t with the public’s turnout. We encouraged their participation. The responsibility lies entirely with the IEC, and we need to reassess our organizational processes and handling,” he explained.

Hendrickse concluded that the IEC should have better anticipated the potential for technological failures.