As the much anticipated local municipal election process draws to a close, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), after two years of planning and employing 18 000 staff, confirms that everything is running on track. Provincial Electoral Officer for the IEC in the Western Cape Reverend Courtney Sampson explains that while nationally IEC’s staff members continue to capture the remaining results, he affirms that the process of voting and counting is complete.
He says that the hold up in the processors is generally during the capturing of results as the system is only able to accommodate a certain amount of captured votes at one time.
“The results are sitting in queues as the whole country is capturing results. At the moment, we are getting everything into the national grid, so it just takes time for the results to be queued,” Sampson added.
He notes that the IEC has given its staff “space,” while the other metros capture its results.
“We are quite comfortable, as we have done what we needed to do,” he said.
Points of clarity
With the close of elections, Sampson says that the IEC will seek to fill the vacancies of individuals who have not taken their seats, either due to death, other unforeseen circumstances, the person resigned from the party, or the party ended the person’s membership before elections.
“If it is a ward councillor then it is a bi-election, if it is a PR councillor then we will need to complete the administrative processors to fill the vacancy. We also have to manage the election to the district councils for those municipalities who fit into district councils,” he stated.
With regards to coalitions, Sampson explains that given the dedicated number of seats that each municipality is allocated, coalitions provide smaller parties with the opportunity to out vote party’s that enjoy a majority number of seats when choosing a mayor.
Sampson further notes that each vote counts and that both ward and proportional representation votes are included in the calculation for seats.
“The ones that are excluded are the spoilt ballots and the ballots of independent candidates.”
Sampson asserts that as an independent organization, the IEC does not report to parliament.
He says that once the elections have been officially concluded, the IEC will account to parliament for its budget though the Department of Home Affairs.
“We do not account for our work to Parliament, since we are an independent body. Chapter 9 of the constitution says that our independence is protected in the same way as the Public Protector and the Auditor General,” Sampson concluded.