Meet Mr Fix-it for voters in Msunduzi

2009-02-18 00:00

A kingpin in any local election process is the municipal election officer (MEO). This is the nuts-and-bolts person who helps to prepare for the election and ensures that it stays on track.

Meet Nick Davids (pictured right) who is running the show in the Msunduzi Municipal area. He serves as the city’s link with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Among his many tasks is to chair the meeting of the political liaison committees. These are committees of political party representatives who meet regularly to help ensure that the election process goes smoothly and to iron out any difficulties across party lines or with the IEC.

Davids liaises with the IEC’s regional supervisors and is involved in the recruitment of election staff, checking that voting stations are ready, liaising with presiding officers at the stations and helping local residents with any queries they may have.

The local election office is on the 10th floor of the Professor Nyembezi Building in Church Street.

Davids says the main queries at present are from people wanting to verify at which voting station they are registered to vote, and from Pietermaritzburg residents who will be overseas on election day. They are calling at the office to fill in forms to qualify for a special vote while they are away.

Once the voters’ roll is available for scrutiny, says Davids, the local office will get busy. He encourages voters to check the roll to ensure they have registered.

“If your name does not appear on the roll and you have proof that you registered, this will be sorted out.”

Davids has worked for the Msunduzi Municipality for more than 28 years. He started off in a community awareness section, which ran various projects to improve the lives of communities and the youth.

When he is not playing the role of MEO, he works in the municipality’s area-based management section.

He says he has been involved in various aspects of elections since 1994. This is his first time as MEO and he is excited by his involvement at this level.

He is full of praise for the IEC and says the level of preparedness and efficiency of the organisation is impressive.

He is also grateful that in past elections, Pietermaritzburg has never experienced major problems. This, he says, is because the political parties are co-operative and want the elections to proceed smoothly.

Davids has a friendly manner and a ready smile. The staff at the local electoral office are also polite and affable — an indication that as the pressure builds up towards election day, Maritzburgers can be assured that help is at hand and that the local office will try its best to answer queries.

To contact the local Electoral Office, phone 033 345 0860.

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