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FALSE: South Africa’s electoral commission dispels claim of ‘destroyed’ ballot boxes and votes in Limpopo province

IN SHORT: Videos shared on social media claim to show “destroyed” ballot boxes in a municipality in Limpopo. But the claim has been debunked by the independent Electoral Commission of South Africa.

Note: This report includes details about a developing news story. Information was, as far as possible, correct at the time of publication but may change rapidly.

South Africa headed to the polls on 29 May 2024, to cast their vote for national and provincial elections. Vote counting is underway at time of publication.

South Africans had to fill in three ballot papers instead of two, for the first time.

Africa Check debunked misinformation before the polls in numbers, but now false post-election claims are taking the spotlight.

Subscribers to our What’s Crap on WhatsApp? line sent us videos supposedly showing destroyed ballot boxes.

“Modimolle - Mokgopong boxes destroyed. 29 May 2024,” the text on the video, which seems to be from TikTok, reads. The same video has been doing the rounds on TikTok and on Facebook in South Africa.

Modimolle–Mookgophong is a local municipality in the Limpopo province of South Africa.

But were ballot boxes destroyed here? We checked.

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‘There were no ballots in the ballot boxes’

A Google reverse image search of a snippet from the video brought us to the official X account for the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

The IEC manages the elections of national, provincial and municipal legislative bodies and provides information on the voting process in the country.

In the X post, the IEC attached a screenshot from the video with “FALSE” stamped over the image.

“The Electoral Commission is aware of the video being circulated showing discarded election materials in Modimolle in Mokopong, Limpopo,” the post starts

“Election officials disposed of the used ballot boxes and other election materials after setting up the station for special votes. There were no ballots in the ballot boxes. #saelections24”



As the votes get counted, social media users in South Africa might come across more alarming claims about ballot boxes and the voting process. 

Keep ahead of the misinformation by regularly referring to our South Africa Election Information Hub or visiting sources such as the IEC for updates.

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