UK woman fraudulently registered in Limpopo

An Amanzimtoti book-keeper now living in London who cast her vote abroad last week feels cheated that she has been fraudulently registered as a voter in Phalaborwa, a town in Limpopo province where she has never set foot.

Tracey Bird, 28, who belongs to a group on Facebook that allows her to keep up to date with life in South Africa, was prompted to visit the IEC’s website to check whether she was registered to vote in Wednesday’s national elections.

Speaking to the Daily News from London on Wednesday she said she had discovered on the IEC site that someone had used her identity number fraudulently to register to vote at Majeje High School in Phalaborwa and that she has been on the voters roll since 1999.

Bird had never registered to vote or voted before last week.

“I had never registered to vote, but the website showed that I had been eligible to vote since 1999. There is no possible reason why I would be registered in Phalaborwa. I have never been to and I don’t even know where it is,” Bird said.

“It made me feel cheated because it is my choice to vote and someone has taken that right away from me. It could have affected the previous election because my identity had been used,” Bird said.

Ironically though, the fraudulent registration made it possible for her to cast her vote this time in London, after the high court ruling allowing citizens abroad to participate in the elections.

Bird reported the incident to the African Christian Democratic Party in London and contacted her mother, Patricia Bird, who reported it to the Independent Electoral Commission’s fraud committee, the DA, Home Affairs and the SAPS.

Patricia Bird said she had tried to open a case of fraud at the Amanzimtoti Police Station but police were “disinterested”.

“My daughter signed an affidavit in London and when my husband went back to the police station to hand it in, they took it but no one was prepared to sign for it,” Bird said. Police declined to open a case, Bird said.

“It’s annoying and frustrating because you can do nothing about it you are one voice trying to act against the fraud. They always talk about being anti-corruption, but when you try to report fraud they are not interested,” Bird said.

SAPS spokesperson Jay Naicker said the IEC was responsible for the voters roll.

“We don’t know where this was committed, so she needs to complain to the IEC which will have to find out where the fraud happened or it could be an administrative error. A docket will have to be opened in Limpopo if it happened there,” Naicker said.

ACDP national elections manager Reenen van Niekerk said the party was investigating the complaint and would also raise it with the IEC.

DA retiring member of Parliament Hilda Weber, who received Bird’s complaint, said because she was registered, she had been allowed to vote and the person using her identity number in Phalaborwa would not have been able to vote on Wednesday.

IEC spokesperson Mawethu Mosery could not be reached for comment despite repeated calls to his cellphone on Wednesday.


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