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Ballot papers unlawfully removed from delivery vehicle in Soweto

Boxes containing ballot papers for next week’s elections were stolen in Dobsonville, Soweto on Thursday night.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says the boxes were stolen from a delivery vehicle. It has also established that the boxes contained ballot papers for Ward 29 and Ward 31 in Johannesburg.

“It is unlikely that the perpetrators were aware the boxes contained ballot papers as the vehicles and boxes are unmarked,” says the commission in a statement.

Each of the ballot books that have gone missing have a unique serial number which allows the IEC to identify exactly which ballots are affected. According to the commission the missing ballots will be quarantined 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,” notes the IEC.

The commission is working with the South African Police Service (Saps) in the investigation of the incident. The Saps has already recovered two booklets and found an indeterminate number of others burnt.

The IEC says the recovered ballots will remain quarantined and that contingency measures are in place to replace the ballots at the voting stations affected.

The Electoral Commission is calling on any person with any knowledge of the theft or any attempt to use the ballots to report it to the police.

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