Voters have another opportunity to hold politicians to account in 2019 – IEC

2018-06-21 20:19
IEC voting station. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP, file)

IEC voting station. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP, file)

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Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) CEO Sy Mamabolo reminded guests attending the Vision 2030 Summit on Thursday that elections were about holding leaders accountable.

"Elections are not only a mechanism of a political system, they are also about accountability," said Mamabolo.

He was speaking to guests at the Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, about the impact that the 2019 national and provincial elections had on the country's National Development Plan (NDP).

The keynote address was expected to be delivered by Minister in the Presidency: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, however, organisers received a last-minute apology on Thursday morning from her office saying that she had to attend an event at the Presidency.

Various speakers spoke about the future of the country.  

"Each five years voters can hold leaders accountable," said Mamabolo.

'2019 elections should inspire economic confidence'

"Elections next year offer the voters another opportunity to hold leaders accountable."  

He said while elections would not eliminate poverty, create jobs and grow the economy, free and fair elections were a springboard that could ensure that the goals of the NDP were made a reality for many South Africans.

ALSO READ: Increase in by-elections diverts resources from 2019 elections – IEC

The NDP was founded on six pillars, among them uniting South Africans, encouraging citizens to be more active in the development of the country, holding government accountable and focusing on the key capabilities of the people and the country, he said.

"It is my belief that free and fair elections are a prerequisite to achieving the NDP goals."

For example, he said, in the aftermath of the Kenyan elections, the country's economy went into decline.

"The 2019 elections must be conducted in a manner that [inspires] economic confidence in the country."

26 million registered voters

He said the economy would stabilise if there was confidence in the election results. The IEC would ensure that the elections were free and fair.

"The outcomes of elections are only a true reflection of the people when they involve a substantial majority of the people.

"We continue to encourage voter registration. We have 26 million people registered on the voters' roll, we want to raise this to 27 million by the time the elections are held next year."

He said 80% of new registrations were those of people below the age of 29.

Mamabolo said while statistics showed that once young people were registered they participated in large numbers, registration numbers remained low.

"Voter registration education will focus on young compatriots," he said.

Goal to increase voter numbers with each election

To attract younger voters, the IEC will use social media.

"The use of technology is going to be one of the pillars of the aggressive use of social media to engage young South Africans to participate more in the electoral process."

A total of 8 000 new registration devices are in the process of being procured in order to assist with the challenge of updating the database of voters' addresses, he said.   

ALSO READ: IEC needs major tech upgrades to be ready for 'robust' 2019 elections

"Voters can use the IEC app to register to vote. They can view the information and amend the information as well."

Mamabolo said the plan was to increase voter numbers with each election.

He said while the institution welcomed constructive criticism, unfounded allegations tended to undermine it.

Changing the perception of SOEs

"The IEC may be independent but none of us are independent of the Constitution

"This is not something we can achieve alone, the electoral process needs the participation of the media, observers, government, political leaders and civil society. Each of us has a responsibility to ensure free and fair elections."

Speaking about changing the perception of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama said: "We are here to discuss the future and I am not as pessimistic.

"All of us have a vested interest in ensuring the success of our country and we should not diminish the problems that we face. Our planet is in a dire state."

Gama said the country should reflect on the demons it had created.

"Companies that will succeed in the future are those that will reduce their environmental impact while increasing their social impact."

New business models

Gama noted the high unemployment rate in the country and said that it meant that the country needed to create more job absorption strategies.

"When we speak about Vision 2030 it needs to speak about how the youth are given hope, moved from the periphery to the centre and how to avoid pandemonium in our country (sic)."

Gama said the business model of "yesterday or last year was now irrelevant".

He said the company needed to change the way it responded to its customers.

"The fourth industrial revolution has an impact on those living in the current."

For Transnet to grow, it needed to be more cutting edge, state of the art, seamless and connected and that means adapting to the rapid changes facing the company, he said.

Gender equality

Currently, Transnet owns eight commercial ports, 3800km of pipeline carrying gas and fuels and more than 30 000km of rail track.

He said one of the key challenges in Africa was intra-continental trade.

"We need to ensure that SOEs play a role in the transformation. It is vital that we build relations in the continent."

He said Transnet's vision was to train people on the African continent, rejuvenate and revitalise rail networks to promote intra-continental trade.

Gama said Transnet would ensure that it plays a pivotal role in communities.

He said the company was also making attempts to address the issue of gender parity within its structures.

"We have done a lot to address the issue but more needs to be done," said Gama.

Read more on:    transnet  |  iec

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