South African Elections: Botched ballot under scrutiny
Saturday 30 April 1994
Census officials and statisticians stand by their figures and claim that the failures were caused by other factors, such as inefficiency and deliberate tampering with the ballot.
The Independent Electoral Commission, the body responsible for running the election, estimated that there were 22.7 million potential voters and printed 80 million ballot papers. But when some polling stations ran out of ballot papers on Wednesday and others never received election materials at all, they were forced to print an extra 6 million ballot papers and fly them to polling stations. Several million ballot papers had gone missing, some were found thrown away, hidden or even burnt in deliberate attempts to manipulate or thwart the election.
'An investigation is designed to establish whether there was an administrative cock-up and logistical inefficiency or whether there was dirty work at the crossroads,' said one IEC official. 'I guess it was about half and half.'
However, neither can explain how estimates of the numbers of voters were so wildly inaccurate in some areas. The 1991 census, combined with the figures from the nominally independent 'homelands', gave a total population of 38.5 million people of whom about 30 million were black.
The IEC accepted these figures. Yet even as it was planning the election its voter estimate jumped from 18 million to 22 million. It planned 9,000 polling stations, expecting 3,000 voters each.
The figures, however, were suspect. In its 1992 report the Central Statistical Service admitted that the black population figure was 'shrouded in the highest degree of uncertainty'. There were 88 areas, mostly the vast squatter camps and peri-urban areas, which had to be surveyed by aerial photography, followed up by sampling on the ground. The figures were then extrapolated.
Ellen Porter of the Institute of Race Relations said: 'In some black areas it is impossible to get truthful answers because people are very suspicious of officials. Secondly, the census was not conducted in the homelands or the former independent states.'
Dr Treurnicht Du Toit, head of the Central Statistical Service, vigourosly defends his methods and figures and rejects the idea that black people would be afraid to tell the truth. 'That may have been a factor in the past, but not in 1991. People say there are 3 million people in Soweto, but frankly that's impossible, translated into an average per household . . . If there is a divergence between our figure and the number of ballots cast you must look at other factors, such as illegal voters.'
His view is supported by Jabu Sindane of the Human Sciences Research Council, who said: 'The census could not be out by 10 per cent. The voter estimate was 22.7 million. I doubt if it could go beyond 25 million. The chaos is just another botch-up by the IEC.'
It is probable that the chaos will result in the election being invalidated in some areas and, according to the rules, rerun in those areas within 12 days.
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
The ten coldest places on Earth
Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Nelson Mandela memorial: Cheers, jeers and a masterclass from Barack Obama that stole the show
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
- 4 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- < Previous
- Next >
£50000 - £65000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading mark...
£60000 - £85000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading asse...
£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Junior/Grad C# .NET Wi...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer (VB6,.NET, SQL, Winforms) Wokin...