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No, person dressed in South Africa’s ruling party colours does not also work for electoral commission

IN SHORT: Two photos of the same man have been doing the rounds on social media: one showing him in the colours of South Africa's ruling party, the other in the colours of the Independent Electoral Commission. Users have dubbed him “the player and the referee” ahead of the country’s elections. However, he and the IEC have denied claims that he works for the commission.

Days ahead of South Africa’s national elections on 29 May 2024, social media users posted a photo of a person dressed in the colours of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at a party rally. In another photo, the person is seen wearing the branding of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

These photos have been posted on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and TikTok alongside concerns that the IEC was untrustworthy, and unfairly favoured the ANC in the election.

Daily newspaper the Star has shared the same claim multiple times on its official Facebook page, suggesting that the IEC had engaged in “vote rigging”, based on false claims.

However, these concerns are unfounded. Here’s what we found.

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Claim debunked by IEC and musician in photos

A reverse image search reveals that both images were previously posted on the Instagram account of musician Betusile Mcinga.

Mcinga has performed at rallies for multiple political parties and is not employed by the IEC

The IEC said on X: “We can confirm that Betusile Mcinga does not work for the IEC. We urge the public to verify information before sharing it to prevent the spread of misinformation.”

Mcinga told the Sowetan that he had put on an IEC bib as a joke. That day, he was performing at an Africa Day celebration in the Eastern Cape province, which he said was attended by IEC officials and several government organisations. A video from the event shows Mcinga performing without the IEC bib

Another post on his Instagram page shows several photos of him at the same event, having his ID documents updated by officials from the Department of Home Affairs and posing with police officers, all without the IEC bib.

“I don’t work for the IEC, I have never worked for the IEC and in fact I have no connection to the IEC,” Mcinga told the paper. The Sowetan also quoted an IEC spokesperson who said that the joke was inappropriate: “You are not allowed to wear the IEC regalia if you are not part of the IEC. You can’t joke about this.”

Mcinga’s management confirmed to Africa Check that he did not work for the IEC and insisted that he had not only performed at ANC rallies.

Mcinga has also performed for the EFF

On Instagram, the image of Mcinga wearing ANC branding was captioned “We about to hit the stage now ……?️ #SiyanqobaRally”, referring to a party rally that took place on 25 May. Mcinga was scheduled to perform, and his face can be seen on this poster shared by the ANC on the day of the rally.

But this isn’t the only rally that Mcinga has performed at. 

In other Instagram posts, Mcinga has shared posters for rallies held by the opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), at which he was scheduled to perform. As well as video of him on stage at EFF events, there are photos of him with party leaders.

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