All systems go for elections next week
South Africa’s 26.7 million registered voters have been urged to flock to the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) 22 000 voting stations to cast their ballot in the National and Provincial Election on 8 May.
The clarion call was made by IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini on Tuesday during the launch of the National Results Operations Centre (ROC) in Pretoria.
Addressing delegates at the venue, which has been set up with large screens with the names of all the political parties contesting the election, Mashinini said it was all systems go for 8 May.
Over the past two years the IEC has been preoccupied with ensuring that a credible election is delivered. “The credibility of our elections is also protected and secured through a variety of checks and balances through each stage of the process,” he said.
He said it is the inclusivity and transparency of the counting and results system which provides all stakeholders with the necessary confidence that the results cannot be rigged.
South Africans have a patriotic duty to protect and defend the elections and democracy for future generations.
He urged those who have been organising and participating in civic demonstrations to respect the election process. “The right to protest and demonstrate is a right protected by our Constitution and has its roots in our democracy and the conduct of peaceful elections,” he said.
IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo said Election Day will be a culmination of two years of preparing, planning and training and it was now down to the voters to cast votes.
“An election is a dynamic confluence of varied core functional components, such as legal, infrastructure, logistics, human capacity and security,” he said.
The IEC has recruited 189000 volunteers to conduct the counting processes.
“In connection with the various state security institutions, including the South African police services, we have arranged for security at each voting stations and critical infrastructure.”
The IEC has printed and distributed 60 million national and provincial double ballot papers. Over 300 000 ballot boxes, 45 000 voting compartments along with stationery packs and posters have been procured.
“All we now await is the final component which is the eager participation of the 26.7 million voters in whose hands the outcome of the election now rests,” he said.
Last Saturday, 29 000 South African expats and members of the South African National Defence Force voted at the country’s various foreign missions.
Initial indications are that a significant number of votes were cast by those who had notified of their intention to vote outside of the Republic. The cast ballots were now in the process of being transported back to South Africa where they will be counted before party representatives. The result of the count will be counted for the national ballot after Election Day.
On Monday and Tuesday, 770 000 special voters will cast their ballots at the various voting stations and during home visits.