Pretoria – The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says it is ready for the nearing Local Government Elections that takes place in the next seven days.
IEC Chief Electoral Officer Mosotho Moepya says all measures, from logistics to security, are in place to ensure the smooth running of elections come 3 August.
“I am pleased to announce that we are ready. Absolutely ready,” he said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the launch of the National Results Operations Centre (ROC) in Pretoria, Moepya said the IEC have been preparing for the elections for more than two years and preparations are on track than ever before.
The ROC will start being in operation from today, in Pretoria and all other provinces, as Moepya announced that they will be in business. He said they are the key aspects of the IEC’s integrity.
Moepya said the upcoming elections are going to be the biggest in South Africa’s history, setting new benchmarks for the country’s democracy and the IEC.
“By all measures, this is a record breaking election. We have recorded 26.3 million voters for this period of elections. We have received a record number of Special Votes applications of over 740 000, which is three times that of 2011 election,” he said.
He said the IEC expects all 26.3 million registered voters to visit the 22 612 voting stations prepared across the country.
“I am confident that we can set a new record,” he said.
Moepya said 204 political parties participating this year, and the number of candidates for this elections stands at 63 654.
He said all election material are ready to be distributed to all provincial warehouses and municipal facilities this coming weekend. He added that 153 000 ballot boxes and 133 000 voting booths were among the material to be distributed.
He said 73.9 million ballot papers have been printed as well, which are already being delivered to provincial warehouses for further distribution.
Voting stations, staff and security
Moepya said all voting venues have been secured. He said 64% of the voting stations are schools, 13% are community centres, 8% are places of worship, and approximately 5% are temporary structures. Moepya said there are also 31 mobile voting stations.
According to Moepya, over 177 000 personnel have been recruited and trained to work during the elections period.
“70% of the people we have recruited are women, and 40 000 of them are persons under the age of 25. More 138 000 of these staff members or above 78% of them are unemployed. We hope that the training and experience that these young people will gain from serving their country will stand them in good stead for the future,” he said.
The IEC Chairperson Glen Mashinini said the IEC has a role, among others, to ensure that the elections are safe, free, fair and peaceful, and the commission is able to declare the results.
Mashinini said it was important for all to ensure that the climate is conducive for free and fair elections.
“This is something that we cannot achieve alone. We can do it in partnership with other state organs,” he said.
Mashinini said the IEC condemns any incidents of violence and intimidation.
Results, mobile app
Moepya said graphic representation of the outcomes will be displayed digitally at the ROCs as they come out, and not even he nor Masinini will have access to the results before anyone in the country.
“We see the results at the same time as everyone else in the country,” he said. He said the results will be audited.
Moepya encouraged voters to download the IEC mobile app which will provide them with information regarding elections, voting stations and the results updates. Voters can also check out their councillors using the app.
The official IEC Elections app in Android and Apple app stores, or visit www.elections.org.za
Mashinini said it was every party’s responsibility to ensure that it has deployed two representatives at the voting stations to ensure that whatever processes and measures put in place are followed, and that counting begins on the same day of the Election Day.
Moepya pleaded with voters who have not yet updated or provided the IEC with their addresses to do so next week when they visit voting stations.
“This process will not impact on the voting processes. In line with the Constitutional Court ruling, those voters whose names appear on the segment of the voters’ roll for that voting station will be allowed to vote whether there is an address or not.
“We appeal to voters whom their addresses are not correct or unavailable to us on the voters’ roll to provide us with their addresses before they leave the voting stations,” he said.
Mashinini thanked the Inter-Ministerial Committee on elections for their support, which is led by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. Both Ministers were present at the launch.
With regards to the disqualification of the National Freedom Party, Mashinini said the IEC finds no joy in disqualifying political parties but it is bound to abide with the rule of law.