This comes as the Electoral Commission’s CEO announced a record 27.7 million registered voters—up 35% from the 2019 elections.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) said Monday it has tracked the source of the leak that saw African National Congress (ANC) and Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) Party candidate lists shared widely on social media to a work station at its offices.

The commission’s CEO, Sy Mamabolo, said in a media briefing that these were the only two parties affected, and the official whose credentials were found to be used in the leak—though information was later deleted at the work station—has been asked to provide reasons why action should not be taken against them.

However, the investigation has not yet been concluded and more officials may be responsible for the leak, he said. A forensic analysis of the work station is also underway.

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Questions around credibility

Mamabolo steadfastly defended the credibility of the IEC despite the very early leak of sensitive information from within its own ranks.

“The credibility of the commission is not dependent on a single factor [the leak],” he said, referring to extensive protocols in place with forming a thoroughly accurate voters’ roll as support for this.

“In time, we will publish a list of all candidates and an provide opportunity for all South Africans to raise objections,” provided these are constitutional.

“The incident is revolting and ought not to have happened but that is not the totality of the credibility of the commission.”

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Record number of voters

Mamabolo also discussed the IEC’s voter roll, still to be certified on Tuesday and later published in provincial and municipal offices.

It found that a record 27.79 million voters are registered ahead of the national and provincial elections on 29 May.

This is 9.6 million (35%) more than during the 2019 elections, where 26.7 million voters were registered.

Registered voters:

• 1999 – 18.17 million
• 2004 – 20.67 million
• 2009 – 23.18 million
• 2014 – 25.39 million
• 2019 – 26.74 million
• 2024 – 27.79 million

“The provincial breakdown of the registered voters indicates that Gauteng remains the biggest voting block, followed by the provinces of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Eastern Cape, respectively,” Mamabolo added.

“The highlight of the certified roll is the increase in the rate of representation by persons in the age cohort 18–39 years. This age band accounts for 42%, or 11.7 million voters on the voters’ roll.

“In fact, the increase in this age category from the 2021 Local Government Elections (LGE 2021) is over 200%, which vindicates the continued focus by the commission and other stakeholders to invert the under-representation of this category of voters.”

Over 55% of the voters roll are also female, he said.

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In terms of diplomatic missions, where citizens could register outside South Africa, London was the city with the most registrations (19 525) followed by The Hague (5 574) and Canberra (2 609).

Others worth noting were Dubai (2 574), Dublin (2 342), Wellington (1 668), Abu Dhabi (1 416), New York CG (1 379), Washington (1 228), and Berlin (1 188).

Leaked candidates lists

The leaked lists included personal information about the parties’ national and provincial candidates.

The IEC has since taken this matter to the Information Regulator, but the latter has asked for more details before taking action.

“The regulator has advised the IEC that the notifications sent to the regulator do not provide sufficient details about the incidents to make them compliant with POPIA requirements,” said the Information Regulator’s spokesperson Nomzamo Zondi.

“Accordingly, the regulator has sent an information notice to the IEC requiring the IEC to furnish the regulator with more details regarding the incidents.”

These include detailed information from the IEC involving the security compromise of the ANC and MK candidates, proof that the IEC has published the security compromise notice on its website, proof of written notification to the MK party and confirmation of the number of candidates impacted by the security compromise.

ALSO READ: Information Regulator probes leak of ANC and MK party candidate lists

Additional reporting by Faizel Patel


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