Voting system is 'flawed and can be rigged', says DA's Mbali Ntuli

The DA's Mbali Ntuli believes the upcoming election for party leader is the most important internal election in the official opposition.
The DA's Mbali Ntuli believes the upcoming election for party leader is the most important internal election in the official opposition.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

DA leadership hopeful Mbali Ntuli has raised alarms over a “significantly flawed” online voting system proposed to be used for the party’s elective congress, saying in its current form, the election can be rigged.

“The OPA system will not allow any verification of who is actually voting, only that a vote  took place. It is not auditable on this basis, which is problematic if we intend to run a free  and fair digital election system,” she said.

The DA’s federal executive opted for the congress to be held online amid the rapid spread of Covid-19 three weeks ago, but Ntuli said she is concerned about the number of significant flaws in the system’s security architecture.

“The OPA system also crucially does not allow myself or anybody from my team to ensure  the fidelity and impartiality of the system, that the votes cast will in fact be allocated and  attributed to the correct candidate.

“It is not good enough that candidates must simply trust that someone from the party will  do this on their behalf. This is exactly why we do not allow the Electoral Commission of SA to count votes on it own. It is legally required to have people independent of the process oversee it from start to finish,” she said.

Ntuli has written to DA federal chairperson Ivan Meyer detailing her concerns and requesting assurances that these outstanding technical issues be dealt with, and that the  outcomes will be fully audited by an independent third party.

Ntuli made her first public appearance at a media briefing on Monday after resuming her campaign for DA leadership as the lockdown restrictions were eased.  

Ntuli has challenged opponent John Steenhuisen to four public debates ahead of the party’s elective congress in October.

The DA previously cancelled scheduled public debates between Helen Zille, Athol Trollip, Mike Waters and Thomas Walters, saying its code of conduct did not promote candidates publicly campaigning against one another.

Ntuli believes the upcoming election for party leader is the most important internal election in the official opposition. She said it is not voting delegates who should know who leads the DA, but all South Africans.

“In the next few months we are going to be fighting the toughest local government elections we have ever fought. For us to ensure we return as many councillors as we can, and win more seats, we are going to have to inspire voters who have never voted for the DA before.

“We are going to have to capture the imagination of our youth, who live in despair. If we do that, even those who stayed home and did not vote for us may finally do so. I want us to work together towards this goal,” she said.

Ntuli also took the time to address voting delegates who are still unsure about who they will be voting for, and especially those who have already endorsed Steenhuisen because they think there is no option, or that they have no choice.

“I am here to tell you that there is another way. There is a bold, transformative and visionary leadership,” she said.

TimesLIVE


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