Pretoria - The IEC on Wednesday promised transparency in the counting of votes in the May 18 local government elections.
"Our success is a success for the continent, inasmuch as failure will be seen as such," Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chair Brigalia Bam said at the launch of the national results operations centre in Pretoria. She said the democratic process was taking its course in Africa, as many countries tried to go to the polls to vote in new governments.
Bam commended South Africans' political tolerance and the increase in the number of political parties and independent candidates contesting this year's election.
It was a sign the country's democracy was maturing. She hoped the elections would be conducted in a democratic and peaceful atmosphere. "From our side, we commit to do our utmost best... to ensure that transparency, accountability, professionalism and independence characterise the running of these elections." Conflict
Chief electoral officer Pansy Tlakula warned that unless elections were conducted fairly, and were perceived to be impartial and fair, they could lead to conflict. This would negate their primary objective of providing legitimacy to an elected government.
Tlakula said the centre would be the hub for operations on election day. "One reason for having this is the credibility and transparency it brings to the results process," she said. An electronic board which would display the votes received by parties contesting the elections had been set up at the centre.
Thanks to technology, information would be made available rapidly to political parties, IEC officials and media at the venue, as well as to all nine provincial results operations centres.
Other data such as analyses, running scores and percentages would be displayed on two large screens at the centres. The IEC said it would deal impartially with electoral complaints, should there be any. Some 82 percent of South Africans are currently on the voters' roll.