All systems go for elections

The Electoral Commission Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, says it’s all systems go for the 2024 National and Provincial Elections.

South Africans will go to the polls on Wednesday, 29 May, to elect the leadership of the seventh administration out of the 70 political parties and 11 independent candidates that were published by the IEC as final contestants in these elections.

In total, there are over 14 903 candidates vying for 887 seats in the National and Provincial Legislatures. There are 27.79 million registered voters.

Moreover, out-of-country voting is scheduled to take place in 111 foreign missions on Friday, 17 May and Saturday, 18 May 2024. More than 78 000 South African citizens living in other countries will cast their vote on 17, 18 and 19 May 2024.

‘In these elections, voters will receive three ballot papers: the national compensatory ballot for political parties, provincial and regional for parties and independent candidates,’ Mamabolo said on Tuesday.

WATCH | Three ballots explained

dressing media in Pretoria on the state of readiness for the General Elections, Mamabolo reminded voters to make only one mark against a party or candidate of their choice.

‘One ballot, one mark,’ he said.

Mamabolo said lease agreements for 23 303 permanent voting stations have been signed and concluded.

‘Of these, 62% are schools, 9.7% are places of worship and the balance of 28% include all other categories, such as community halls and other municipal facilities.’

Mamabolo said the IEC is in the final stages of training 202 500 voting officials, who will discharge the responsibility of administering the electoral process in the voting stations.

‘The addition of a new category of staff to assist the presiding officer with the counting effort is another significant step towards improving the quality of counting.’

According to Mamabolo, three such staff will be appointed for each voting station and for each sub-station where a voting centre is being operated.

‘To this end, a total of 191 185 staff have
been appointed,’ he said.

Results Operations Centre

As part of final preparations, Mamabolo said the Commission will launch the national Results Operations Centre (ROC) on Wednesday, 22 May 2024.

‘The national ROC will be based at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg. It will house Commission members, as well as representatives of key service providers such as Eskom and Parliament, representatives of contestants running in the national elections, domestic and international observer missions, and media organisations.

‘The Commission is pleased to share that a record 160 organisations, with 5 000 observers domestically and from around the world, will be observing South Africa’s 2024 General Elections,’ Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo explained that about 15 of the observer organisations are international and include the African Union, the Carter Centre’s Democracy Program, and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

Making voting easier

With regards to measures put
in place for people with disabilities, Mamabolo said the Commission has implemented measures to make the voting process more accessible to all South Africans, regardless of physical abilities.

‘Voting officials will assist voters who require assistance on voting day. Working with the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB), we have developed a voting aid, the Universal Ballot Template (UBT), to increase the chances of them confidently and confidentially exercising their right to vote,’ Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo has also reminded the voters to vote where they are registered.

‘It is therefore appropriate that, ahead of the elections, we remind voters of the general rule in elections that a person votes at a voting station where they have registered. The only exception to the general rule is that a voter may vote outside of their registered voting district only after notifying the Commission.

‘Notifications in this regard will close this Friday, 17 May. As of today, approximately 199 092 notificat
ions had been approved,’ Mamabolo said.

The Commission also called on registered voters to check their voting station ahead of election day.

According to the Commission, a number of channels are available to assist voters with checking their registration, including:

SMS your ID number to 32810.

Use the voting station finder application on the IEC website.

Contact help centre on 080011800.

Download the IEC APP from the Appstore.

‘We call on South Africans both abroad and here at home to come out in numbers and excise their democratic rights.

‘We further continue our call to citizens, media members and political party leaders to set a good example and foster an electoral environment based on trust, integrity, and respect for all.

‘The Electoral Commission, for its part, commits to declaring an election outcome based on South African voters’ choices,’ Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo said the counting of votes will take place at each voting station in the presence of political party agents and observers.

e will be a result slip at the conclusion of the count which will be displayed at that voting station. All interested are allowed to capture a photo of that official result of that voting station, with their gadgets,’ Mamabolo said.

Source: South African Government News Agency