While political parties are gearing up to the Local Municipal Elections, the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) election preparations are in full swing. With voters taking to the polls on August 3, 2016, recent protests in Tshwane have increased concern that the IEC electoral process will be disrupted.
Speaking to VOC, Provincial Electoral Officer in the Western Cape Courtney Sampson explains that in light of growing protests, the IEC regularly meets with all relevant security structures and monitors all conflict situations in order to adequately prepare for any electoral set-backs.
“The candidate nomination process and the candidate list has been a source of concern for all the political parties, [since] the expectations of people has not been met. This is very sensitive matter at the moment,” Sampson adds.
He confirmed that the IEC has appointed an individual to coordinate and monitor all the conflict spots and who assists in creating an environment conducive to hosting a free and fair election.
“So we don’t just wait for conflict to happen, we actually try and deal with it before -hand by speaking to community leaders and political parties, where it is necessary.”
The IEC’s monitor has established a task team to monitor any issue of contestation, including taxi violence, gang violence and protests.
In addition, the IEC has established the Electoral Code of Conduct Observer Commission, which consists of religious leaders, legal experts, and academics who have availed themselves to assist where necessary in an attempt to manage possible conflict.
“The IEC has met with the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), and they are very keen to assist in communities to support the work that is being done so as to ensure a free and fair electoral process,” Sampson continued.
While the ballot papers are in the process of being concluded, Sampson explains the finalisation of ballot papers will commence after the 1st of July, when political party and independent candidates are certified.
“Once the certification is done, then everything is official and we can start printing ballot papers.”
In addition to the preparation of ballots, the IEC is in the process of training electoral staff members. Sampson, however, confirmed that the contracts of IEC staff members, who are paid once the election is completed, has been concluded.
He further notes that the venues, in which voting is conducted, needs to contracted and that the material required on election day will need to be transported to the each electoral station.
In order to accommodate voting for those who are unable to physically go to a voting station or those who are unable to vote on voting day, the IEC has allocated the 1st and 2nd of August, 2016, between 8am and 5pm, for all special votes.
Special voters are required to make an application to vote on the designated dates before the July 8, 2016.
For all the latest on the upcoming Local Municipal Elections, visit: http://www.elections.org.za/content/
For your candidate list, visit: http://www.elections.org.za/content/Elections/Candidates-lists/