IEC promises to deliver safe and quality elections in 2024

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has vowed to deliver quality provincial and national elections in 2024.

Speaking to Sunday World on Tuesday, IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said: “The commission has entered into a period of high electoral intensity. Our focus is on the preparations for the elections.

The commission has undertaken to prepare for a quality free and fair elections.

“Experience has proved that the electoral commission can organise credible, free and fair elections within a reasonably short period of time.

“The successful 2021 local government elections, organised within 42 days, are a good example but least preferred period and circumstances.”

To ensure that quality elections are conducted, Bapela said the IEC will continue to work closely with all of its stakeholders starting with political parties represented in the political party liaison committee and independent candidates.

“The commission will also ramp up its voter education campaigns to ensure that citizens understand the impact of the legislation.”

This vow by the IEC comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Electoral Amendment Bill into law on Monday in Centurion, enabling independent candidates to contest in provincial and national elections.

This after a historic Constitutional Court ruling that found the act unconstitutional. Some civil society organisations have criticised the act and threatened legal action.

Bapela said: “The major change introduced by the amended act is that for the first time qualifying individuals, who are not associated with a political party, can stand as candidates for elections into the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.

“The implications of this major change for the commission are among others that the commission has to design new and procure more ballot papers.

“To accommodate independent candidates, the commission has to print more and bigger ballot papers.”

Bapela added that the introduction of a second ballot for the election into the National Assembly will result in an increased number of ballot papers to be printed.

“The number of ballot papers for provincial legislature elections remains unchanged at one ballot per province. These will contain the names of parties and independent candidates.

“The commission appreciates that these changes are technical in nature and will use voter education campaigns to help the public understand what each ballot stands for.”

Bapela shared that now that the policy choices have been made, the IEC will move with deliberate speed to finalize the supporting business applications necessary for the implementation of the act. These include among others:

  • Rewriting the candidate nomination system to facilitate the participation of independent candidates and a portal to enable candidates to capture the details of voters who support their candidature;
  • Redeveloping the result system to facilitate the recordal of votes cast in favour of independent candidates and translating these into seats where the threshold is met;
  • Updating platforms and mechanisms of liaison with parties to also include independent candidates;
  • Reviewing the political party funding legislation in order to include funding of elected independents;
  • Ensuring enactment of consequential amendments and regulations to enable the realisation of the objects of the act.

“The commission has now approved the project charter which contains all activities, milestones and timelines that underpin preparations for elections.” 

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