With one week to go before the local government elections, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has issued a stern warning to political parties to “separate electioneering and facts”.
This comes after indications by parties that the IEC could fail to conduct free and fair elections.
The IEC yesterday officially launched the national results operation centre in Tshwane.
At the launch IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said that the commission was confident that its checks and balances were in place and that they would be ready to conduct free and fair elections come August 3.
The credibility of the commission has been called into question by a number of parties in recent weeks following incidents of politically-motivated attacks.
They expressed concerns that they were not confident in the commission’s ability to hold free and fair elections.
“Measures are known by all political parties because every month, through the party political liaison system, they are engaged – more than even us as commissioners – with the executive management team about what systems, what measures are in place,” Mashinini said.
“So as we see the robustness of the debate we must be able to separate electioneering and facts and be scientific about the issues. We are telling the South African public now that they must know and understand that we have systems that have optimum integrity mechanisms that will ensure that what comes in is what comes out,” he said, referring to the counting of votes on the day.
Meanwhile, the commission’s chief executive Mosotho Moepya said that the IEC is more than ready for what will be the most hotly-contested elections of South Africa’s young democracy.
“In just five days voting will begin in the biggest and one of the most important elections in our history – an election which will set new benchmarks for democracy in our country and for the electoral commission. By all measures this is a record-breaking election,” Moepya said.
This weekend the top three political parties will look to give a final show of force before the polls, when they host their rallies in Johannesburg and Limpopo.
» Special vote applications: more than 740 000 (three times more than in 2011)
» Voting stations: 22 612
» Number of parties: 204 (68% more than 2011)
» Number of candidates: 63 654 (18% more than 2011)
» Number of independent candidates: 855 (754 in 2011)
» Unique ballots: 4649
» Largest ballot paper: A3 sized to accommodate a record 37 parties contesting the Cape Town metro
— Supplied by the IEC