Voters' information not compromised after cyber hack, says IEC

The Electoral Commission says citizens can register to vote in the 2024 national and provincial elections. File photo.
The Electoral Commission says citizens can register to vote in the 2024 national and provincial elections. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell

The Electoral Commission (IEC) says voters' information has not been compromised by a cyber hack. 

The commission this week warned of an impostor posing as CEO Sy Mamabolo and chatting with voters on WhatsApp to get their information. 

Speaking on Power 98.7, IEC spokesperson Kate Baphela said this was concerning considering elections are 15 month away. 

She assured the public the IEC was not compromised. 

“We are definitely not comprised because the critical information of the IEC is not sitting with me as the national spokesperson on my mobile device. The information is sitting far away, where it is highly protected. We have already informed the police,” she said.

In a statement, the IEC said it first became aware of the impostor in October 2022 and reported the matter to police for investigation.

“Indications from the South African Police Service are that investigations are still continuing. The activities of the impostor receded in December 2022 but resurfaced over the weekend.

“The impostor uses the cellphone number 084 577 9791. The impostor appears very active on WhatsApp, where he or she is conversing with unsuspecting professional contacts and acquaintances of the chief electoral officer. The WhatsApp account linked to the 084 577 9791 number bears the photographs of the chief electoral officer. These photographs are easily accessible from news sites and publications on the internet,” said the commission.

It encouraged the public to contact police should they encounter anyone claiming to be Mamabolo. 

“Furthermore, the public is also urged to contact the commission to verify any information. The commission strongly condemns the impersonation of the CEO as this is damaging to the reputation of the institution, a feat we can least afford as we scale up the preparations for the 2024 national and provincial elections.”

It urged police to intensify the investigation and apprehend the culprit, saying their criminal conduct undermines the country's electoral democratic processes and the commission as a foremost election management body on the African continent.

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