We are ready, the IEC declares

2009-04-17 00:00

“We are ready!” KZN provincial electoral officer Mawethu Mosery declared yesterday as he discussed final preparations for South Africa’s much anticipated 2009 national and provincial election, which is just five days away.

Even more importantly, said Mosery, at this point the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is confident that the election will be free and fair. He added that violence is a factor that affects the freeness of an election, and recent incidents have caused concern. However, ongoing liaison with the security authorities have helped resolve many of the issues. “We feel confident that the climate we now have is conducive to a free and fair election,” he said

According to Mosery, a breakdown of complaints shows the majority were over the malicious damage to property such as posters, banners and billboards. These were followed by general assaults.

Mosery added that a worrying aspect was the eight cases of murder suspected to be politically motivated.

He was confident that mediation efforts are on track, saying mediations over the tense situation in Nongoma are under way and are expected to be resolved this weekend. The IEC and the police have also successfully mediated a conflict situation on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.

Mosery identified 42 polling stations in high-risk areas that would have extra security personnel on duty. He said about 12 of these were in areas with high crime rates and about 30 in politically volatile areas such as Nongoma, Umvoti, uMtshezi and Imbabazane

The KZN IEC held an official launch of the provincial results operation centre (ROC), set up in the Durban Exhibition Centre. Mosery said this is a state-of-the-art centre where election-related activities from across the province will be co-ordinated.

The centre will serve as a central point from which the media can monitor incoming results and a base from which they can report, as well as a meeting place for political parties, politicians, business and government leaders to keep abreast of results and to interact.

IEC activities at the ROC will include a results system technical help desk, a results problem-resolution authority, an electoral operations “nerve centre” and an extensive information technology network that will prepare interactive and large projection screens for the media.

The centre will be in operation from today until Sunday, April 26.

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