IEC anticipates a smooth election

2011-05-18 09:35
Pretoria - Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chief electoral officer Pansy Tlakula cautiously anticipated a smooth election on Wednesday.

"I think it's going to go well, but it's too early to tell," she said, arriving at the IEC results centre, at the old Pretoria showgrounds.

Tlakula, who earlier helped Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to vote in Hatfield, said she had not yet been briefed on how things were proceeding on the ground.

A media briefing would be held after midday to update the public on the progress of the local government election.

Hive of activity

The centre was a hive of activity before voting stations opened on Wednesday, with IEC support staff already fielding calls from officials on the ground.

IEC official on electoral matters Stuart Murphy said the centre was on the "pulse" of internal operations.

The "cross" or operations floor, a cordoned-off area in the middle of the centre, received and handled mostly internal complaints reported to the IEC from various parts of the country.

"We deal with operational challenges... voting stations not opening, ballot paper issues, training, logistics, any internal IEC challenges," Murphy said.

Directly in front of the cross was a large blue electronic board which would display polling results when they started filtering in, possibly between 21:00 and 22:00 on Wednesday.

Murphy said that the capturing of the actual results did not happen at the centre.

This would take place at 234 municipal IEC centres across the country.

Murphy said the IEC was "ready to roll".

Polling stations across the country opened at 07:00. Voters can cast their ballots until 19:00.

There are 4 275 ward seats and 460 proportional representation seats being contested in the municipal poll, with 121 parties taking part in 278 municipalities.

Ballot papers

In the 2009 national election, a shortage of ballot papers was a huge problem for the commission, particularly in Gauteng.

Murphy said this was unlikely to repeat itself as voters had to make their mark at the station at which they were registered.

"With national elections, you can basically vote anywhere, but local elections are different and that's why we don't anticipate that challenge."

Broadcasters had set up makeshift studios at the centre and were already live on air an hour before polling stations opened.

Two private security companies and police were handling security at the centre.

Eighteen police officers were on site, with additional "standby tactical capacity", said a senior officer on duty.

There were 36 guards from one security company deployed for the day and 24 would come on shift on Wednesday night.

Fire safety, the fire brigade, emergency services and disaster management were all on standby at the centre, ready for "any eventuality".

- Are you voting? Send us your photos
Read more on:    iec  |  pansy tlakula  |  elections

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

My News Header

Loyalties 'not cast in stone'

Kalim Rajab 28 comments | 252 views |

The dark last days of apartheid are a thing of the past - and community loyalties, as the Indian and coloured communities show, are not cast in stone, writes News24 User Kalim Rajab.

More from users
More Comments

'DA is the new UDF'

2011-05-25 10:36

The DA is the new UDF. We are the most non-racial party South Africa has ever had, says Helen Zille in a letter to Ferial Haffajee.

GALLERY: Mandela votes 2011-05-17 08:05
Former president Nelson Mandela cast his special vote for the local government elections from his home in Houghton, Johannesburg.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.