2014: IEC ‘united and ready despite hiccups’

2013-10-09 14:06

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) deputy chairperson Terry Tselane says the commission is united and ready to deliver elections despite “hiccups” that have rocked it.

The IEC plans to recruit 2 million voters next month when it embarks on a two-day voter registration drive, in which it will target mainly the youth.

Almost 74% of eligible voters are on the voters’ roll, but the commission falls short of the target of 80%, which it hopes to reach during the registration drive.

The IEC has been in the spotlight after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that there were irregularities in the contract to procure the organisation’s new headquarters, and fingered IEC boss Pansy Tlakula for a conflict of interest in the awarding of the multimillion-rand contract.

Parliament is currently looking into Madonsela’s report.

This morning, Tlakula said the commission had avoided the international trend of declining voter turnout, saying there was no better way to mark 20 years of freedom than ensuring that every eligible South African registered to vote in 2014 general elections.

She also encouraged new voters, who are popularly known as the “born-free” registration, to register to vote.

“Democracy was achieved at a great price and should not be taken for granted. The right to vote was achieved through tireless efforts by many South Africans of previous generations.

“We should therefore treasure and use the opportunity to exercise this right to vote. To fail to do so would be a disservice to so many who have gone before,” she said.

Chief electoral officer Mosotho Moepya said there would be 9.4% more voting stations than there were during the 2011 municipal elections. There are 22 262 voting districts in total.

The 44 534 officials who will be running the campaign exclude people who have held political office in the past five years, and parties will be given the list to vet.

The logo for this year had been designed to appeal to young voters, said IEC Deputy CEO Nomsa Masuku.

Masuku said South Africans should be concerned that young voters were underrepresented on the voters’ roll.

She said this meant they were not directly involved in influencing the affairs of the country.

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