S African post-apartheid poll tampered with, says new book

The results of South Africa`s first free election was tampered with to boost the tally of three opposition parties, including apartheid`s last rulers, excerpts of a book published said.

Updated: Oct 24, 2010, 17:59 PM IST

Cape Town: The results of South Africa`s
first free election was tampered with to boost the tally of
three opposition parties, including apartheid`s last rulers,
excerpts of a book published on Sunday said.

"Birth: The Conspiracy to Stop the `94 Election", by
former electoral commission official Peter Harris, details the
untraceable breach as South Africa waited on the edge of
violence as the poll results trickled in.

"The hacker went in between 05:56 and 06:41 on the
morning of 3 May and made changes to the vote count of three
parties," Harris quotes a forensic investigator as saying in
the excerpts published in the Sunday Times.

The right-wing Freedom Front`s tally was pushed up by
between 2.5 per cent and four per cent, and the white minority
National Party which had ruled apartheid South Africa since
1948 rose by around three per cent.

The Zulu majority Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), whose
supporters had bloody clashes with frontrunners the African
National Congress (ANC), went up between four and five per
cent.

Election officials froze the results, with Harris in his
book pointing to fears of violence and swirling rumours as
South Africa steered toward democracy under iconic African
National Congress leader Nelson Mandela.

"There is a real concern that with every hour that the
country does not receive election results, the potential for
violence increases," he wrote, saying reports of violence were
coming in.

Newspapers reported people rushing to stock up on
foodstuffs and of farmers clustering in fear of being driven
off their land by black militias.

"The frozen election results place the country in limbo.
Fear feeds on fear and the political mercury rises. The spooks
tell us that security forces have been placed on high alert,"
he wrote.

The final results were eventually announced on May 6 with
Mandela`s ANC winning 62.6 percent of the vote, the National
Party 20.4 per cent and the IFP 10.5 per cent.

Mandela, released in 1990 after 27 years in apartheid
jail, was sworn in as president four days later. The book is
due to be released next month.

PTI