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IEC Employee Dismissed Amid Candidate List Leak, DA's Election Observer Request Stirs Controversy

Published March 14, 2024
2 months ago

In a recent turn of events stirring South Africa's political landscape, the Electoral Commission (IEC) has dismissed one of its employees for unlawfully leaking the candidate lists of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Military Veterans Party. The investigation, which began after the lists surfaced on social media, has concluded that the breach of confidentiality originated from within the commission's own infrastructure.

Acknowledging the serious nature of the security lapse, the IEC swiftly took measures to mitigate the aftermath, including securing and imaging the compromised workstation which had been used to access and manipulate the sensitive data. The Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, highlighted the quick response during a press briefing in Centurion, Pretoria, emphasizing the commission's commitment to maintaining the integrity of the electoral process.

Coinciding with the developments in the IEC, the Institute of Election Management Services in Africa (IEMSA) took a firm stand against the Democratic Alliance's (DA) unprecedented action of soliciting foreign oversight for the upcoming general elections. IEMSA's Executive Chairman, Terry Tselane, criticized the official opposition party for a perceived lack of trust in South Africa's own electoral body, viewing the request to the United States and other European countries as a violation of the country's constitutional principles.

The United States embassy in Pretoria echoed Tselane’s views, underlining their respect for South Africa's sovereignty and acknowledging the IEC’s reputation for conducting fair electoral processes. The International Relations department also weighed in, reaffirming confidence in the country's ability to conduct successful elections as witnessed in previous years.

The series of events has provoked widespread debate about the legitimacy of the electoral process and has placed South Africa's capability to self-govern under the international spotlight. The ANC's response, voicing full support for the investigation, reflects both the party's assurance in its transparency and its vested interest in maintaining public trust ahead of the vital upcoming polls.

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