IEC voting station. (Elmarie Jack, News24)
Durban – The candidates contesting this year’s elections are not of the best quality, the IEC in KwaZulu-Natal said on Tuesday.
“With all the internal party troubles, the quality of the candidates we see these days is not the best that we can get as a country,” the Electoral Commission of SA’s (IEC) provincial electoral officer, Mawethu Mosery, said.
It was more about who could influence party nomination processes, and not getting the best candidate, he said at a discussion, hosted by the Diakonia Council of Churches, on the prospects for peaceful elections.
Local government elections would be held on August 3, in 43 days.
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There had been several protests around the country against the nomination of candidates for the elections. On Monday, ANC members in several townships around Tshwane began protesting against Thoko Didiza’s nomination as the metro’s mayoral candidate.
At least 19 buses were set alight and City of Tshwane employees had to be withdrawn from the areas for their safety. Earlier this month, residents of KwaMashu and Inanda, Durban, protested against candidate lists.
“The excitement of voters coming out to vote depends on who the candidate is and the qualities of that candidate,” Mosery said.
The quality of candidates was questionable across the board. Discussions should be held on what criteria elected representatives should meet, the processes political parties used to chose candidates, and the public’s role in selecting them.
“Whether you are elected by a party or not, you end up being an elected representative for everyone in that particular area or community.”
The IEC did not review the profiles of nominated candidates or check if they had criminal records.
“It is the political party or the municipality on the receiving end of the elections that must do that.”
Chapter 7 of the Constitution clearly stated who could be a councillor.
Those with a criminal conviction, who had received a sentence of more than 12 months without the option of a fine, were not eligible to hold public office.
Mosery said the IEC in the province had received the names of 13 000 candidates. Candidates would be disqualified for failing to submit identity documents or a nomination acceptance letter.
“If they nominate you, you must accept and if you don’t it means you do not want the position and your name will be removed from the list.”
Mosery said in some instances, people had been nominated, but were not registered voters in that area.