Government's security cluster has confirmed that a Mpumalanga community media editor is among 22 people arrested for attempting to vote more than once in last week's 2019 general election.
Etienne Mare is said to have appeared in the Baberton Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of contravening Section 88(d), voting more than once, Section 89(i)(a) intentionally making a false statement and Section 90(2) infringement of secrecy of the Electoral Commission Act, 1996.
He was arrested on Friday after posting a video online claiming that he was on his way to vote for a second time after hearing from another voter that she had been able to vote several times.
The South African Editors Forum (Sanef) says Mare had no malicious intent and was just testing the system.
Police Minister Bheki Cele held a briefing on Monday afternoon to detail this and other reported incidents over the elections period.
Eyewitness News reporter Kgomotso Modise was there.
There was a statement from Sanef coming out and saying he did not intend to be malicious in any way and was just testing the system. So that was the main arrest Bheki Cele highlighted today, speaking about how they have no tolerance for these and if found guilty, the law will take its course.— Kgomotso Modise, Reporter - EWN
Sanef has raised its concerns over the matter, saying it does not believe journalists are above the law. However, it appears Mare was 'genuinely operating in the public interest'.
SANEF does not believe that journalists are above the law and we are aware of the fact that it is an offence to vote twice. However, it appears that Mare was genuinely operating in the public interest.— SANEF (@SAEditorsForum) May 13, 2019
He resorted to these measures to conclusively test the IEC systems with the purpose of highlighting possible electoral fraud. The fact that he spoilt his second vote is an indication of the fact that he was not trying to subvert the voting process.— SANEF (@SAEditorsForum) May 13, 2019
Click on the link below to hear the full report from Kgomotso Modise....