Introduce e-voting - IEC candidate

2014-11-20 16:43
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Johannesburg - South Africa should introduce electronic voting now rather than later, Professor Mzamo Alexander Gumbi said on Thursday.

"We should start right now," Gumbi told a panel interviewing candidates for the position of commissioner of IEC.

"Namibia has introduced electronic voting, why can't South Africa do that?"

Panel chairperson Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng told Gumbi that the IEC budget was around R1bn the last time he inquired, and that the country was operating in a difficult economic period.

"We know there are a lot of things in this country that need serious attention and budgets. How is such an atmosphere going to make it easy to implement e-voting?"

Gumbi said the country would cross that bridge when it got there.

"Let us prove ourselves, we are a developing country and not standing still," he said.

Panellist and deputy public protector Kevin Malunga asked Gumbi if he knew of any country that had successfully conducted elections through electronic voting.

"Do you have a success story to share with us? Bearing in mind South Africa's problems when it comes to procurement?"

Gumbi said e-voting could not be applied blindly across the country.

"The system will not just have smooth sailing from the start. We still have mud schools, children still study under trees in some areas.

"You cannot go to such areas and say you're implementing e-voting. It should be introduced first in areas where it can work, and as a pilot project."

Gumbi had been an academic since 1981, he said.

He had worked as a prosecutor and magistrate, and decided to go back to study before he could be promoted to chief magistrate, Gumbi said.

"Over the years I was involved in the public service. In 1994, I was exposed to elections and attended to cases in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal and that raised my interests in elections."

A panel chaired by Mogoeng and comprising the chairperson of the SA Human Rights Commission Lawrence Mushwana, chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality Mfanozelwe Shozi, and Malunga, were conducting the interviews.

A total of 14 candidates were shortlisted for the position of commissioner.

Read more on:    iec  |  mogoeng mogoeng  |  johannesburg

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