South Africa: Cooperative Governance On Electoral Commission Credibility

The credibility of the IEC is intact and unquestionable

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996) is the supreme law of the country. In terms of Section 181 of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission is one of the institutions that strengthens constitutional democracy. It is independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the law, and must be impartial and exercise its powers and perform its functions without fear, favour or prejudice.

The constitution also enshrines the rights of voters, requires the establishment of a national common voters’ roll, prescribes the use of an electoral system based on proportional representation in all spheres of government, and provides the foundation for the elections of members of the National Assembly, provincial legislatures and municipal councils.

Therefore, the statement by the EFF at its elections manifesto launch, on 30 April 2016, Orlando stadium, which accused the IEC of being the third party competing in elections and that it continues to rig elections is wrong, misleading and malicious.

In this year, 2016, when we mark 20 years since former President Nelson Mandela signed our constitution into law, it is disappointing that some amongst us are questioning the integrity of this important institution (IEC) established to serve our country and its people.

This blatant attack on the IEC brings into focus the real commitment of others to our constitution which is an important framework that contains our aspiration for a non-sexist, non-racial, democratic and prosperous South Africa. Government therefore calls on all South Africans to join hands in translating the rights and responsibilities enshrined in the Constitution into reality and also support the work of the IEC. Together, let us continue to embrace and promote constitutional rights, values and use them to move our country forward

The integrity of the IEC is a key element of its credibility, anchored in transparency and trustworthiness. This credibility of the IEC implies its commitment to ensuring a South Africa that holds free and fair elections and not in any way being biased towards or against anyone or group, but being driven by the interest of the people as enshrined in the constitution.

It is within this context that we assign high credibility to the IEC as it has clearly shown high moral standards and it is known to have stuck to them since 1994, having delivered a number of successful national and local government elections.

As the IEC is responsible for upholding and advancing democracy, its integrity is crucial to the continued credibility of the electoral process, and therefore the legitimacy of its outcome. As government we have no doubt that the IEC is living to those expectations.

Since the law requires that potential voters register in the ward that they reside in. The IEC was able to embark on the process to register eligible voters and update their details on the voters roll. The two registration weekends on both 5 – 6 March and 9 – 10 April 2016 respectively, saw large numbers of potential voters visiting the voting stations.

In preparations for the 3rd August 2016 local government elections, we are pleased with the work of the IEC thus far as it continues to uphold its spotless reputation as a credible arbiter of elections in South Africa. It is partly through the hard work of the IEC that as at 30 April 2016 there were over twenty six million (26, 316, 586) total registered voters.

As government we would like to issue a stern warning to the EFF and anyone who underestimates the importance of the IEC and its immaculate track record of being objective and truthful in delivering successful elections in a fair and unbiased manner. This malicious attack on the IEC, is surely also a brutal attack on our constitution.

We are therefore confident that the negative perceptions and irresponsible statements will not in any way derail the IEC from focusing on the task at hand of delivering the successful 2016 local government elections.

As government we are confident and upbeat, ahead of the local government elections, which we believe will be free and fair.

Source: Department of Cooperative Governance