Express News

Elections ’19 are here

Jabulani Tshaba­lala
Jabulani Tshaba­lala

A team of independent election observers have been deployed in the Free State to monitor the 2019 election process.

The Electoral Commission (IEC) in the province said at a media briefing on 30 April that the obser­vers would keep an eye on the election process.

The observers are represen­tatives from six organisations.

These are the Commission for Gender Equality, the South African Council of Churches (SACC), the Human Rights Commission South Africa, the Deaf Federation of South Africa, Red Cross South Africa and the National Council for the Blind. These bodies have been accredited by the IEC.

The observers’ duty is to keep an eye on the voting process at the voting stations, the counting of votes and the determination and declaration of results of the election.

This year’s will be the sixth provincial and national elections since the dawn of demo­cracy in South Africa in 1994.

Jabulani Tshabalala, IEC provincial electoral officer, said the observation remained a valuable measure for improving the quality of the elections.

“It is important to observe the process of the elections as a whole; from the start to the end.

“This is to promote and build public confidence, build the trust of the electoral processes, assure political parties and the citizens that the elections are indeed free and fair, and that the results can be accepted,” he said.

An accredited member of the SACC, Vuyelwa Sebolao, described this as a time for the nation to unite for peaceful and successful elections.

“We will be working with the IEC to ensure the credibility of the elections. This is an opportunity to build on the success of the previous elections and to further strengthen the South African democracy.

“We are honoured to have been accredited to be the eyes and the ears of the commission,” said Sebolao.

The Free State remains the focal point this year, with 28 political parties registered to contest the 2019 provincial and national elections.

These 28 parties have signed the Code of Conduct to adhere to the Electoral Code of Conduct, aiming at promoting “conditions that are conducive to free and fair elections” and that create a climate of tole­rance, free political campaigning and open public debate.

The IEC in the province indicated that it was the first time that over 20 parties have registered in the Free State – making it the largest in terms of the number of registered parties to contest the election today (08/05).

The 28 parties will contest to get the votes of the 1,4 million voters registered.

The elections started on Monday (06/05) with voters whose applications had been approved to cast special votes ahead of the elections today.

Mmathabo Rasengane, the IEC’s provincial spokesperson, said 774 094 voters had been granted permission to cast a special vote on Monday and Tuesday (07/05).

“This is almost double the number of special voters in 2014 (393 516) and is close to the number of special voters in 2009 (743 609). Of those whose applications for a special vote in 2019 were approved, 452 418 (58,4%) will cast their votes during a home visit by election officials accompanied by party agents and obser­vers,” said Rasengane.

The remaining 321 676 voters (41,6%) will cast their special votes at their voting stations today.

  • Voting stations open at 07:00 and close at 22:00.
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