How a Zim-style Election will be prevented in SA

There are measures in place to ensure that South Africa’s national election next year is not marred by the controversies that resulted in the recent election in Zimbabwe being declared not free and that fair. That assurance comes from Mawethu Mosery, the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa. Her says the IEC will get around possible controversies by the inclusion of all political parties “every step” in the preparation of the election; allowing litigation to be taken through its fullness; and “definitely making sure that political contestants have people who are watching the process for them, the party agents who are there throughout from special votes through to counting and signing off the results slip”.Chris Steyn

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:10 – Introductions
  • 00:43 – Mawethu Mosery on assurances for next years elections
  • 06:23 – How can we present a situation similar to Zim
  • 10:27 – How many polling booths are there in SA
  • 13:51 – Party agents
  • 15:00 – Political Funding
  • 18:27 – What is the IEC doing to encourage young people to vote
  • 22:47 – Potential dates for elections next year
  • 23:58 – Conclusions

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Highlights from the Interview

There are measures in place to ensure that South Africa’s national election next year is not marred by the controversies that resulted in the recent election in Zimbabwe being declared not free and fair.

That assurance comes from Mawethu Mosery, the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa.

Speaking to BizNews, he says: “So you get round possible controversies by inclusion of political parties, but also allowing litigation to be taken through its fullness. 

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“And we have court judgments that support that the decisions we have made this far have not been decisions that favour a particular political contestant. It’s decisions that advance the fair administration of elections. So we should not have issues with that with our political parties and political contestants.”

To this end the IEC also has “a very important committee”, the National Party Liaison Committee, in which all political parties are participants.

“As a commission, we come and share with them every step in the preparation of the election. 

“So you will not have a political party who complains about the location of voting stations. You wouldn’t have a political party who says we did not present the people who are presiding in voting stations as staff, because we present those so that you can say, no, Mawethu is too biassed; he can’t manage a voting station. 

“So we take them along the way with us, briefing them on every step and giving them an opportunity to object or make representation or submission.”

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Referring to the case in 2021 of some parties, including the African National Congress (ANC), that had missed submission of candidates, he said: “… when we explained that the reason candidate nomination is reopening is not favouring those who had missed the opportunity, but it is the correct and fair procedure given the fact that the court has changed the closing date of the voter’s role. They’ve allowed for more registration to take place, basically reopening the voter’s role. So we aligned that to that decision of the court. But when that was challenged again a few weeks after, the court confirmed that there’s nothing amiss or unfair to reopen the timetable in the way we did.”

Another “key check” is “definitely making sure that political contestants have people who are watching the process for them, the party agents who are there throughout from special votes through to counting and signing off the results slip”. 

Mawethu adds: “They are part of the process. So in that context, we are assuring ourselves that it’s not only electoral officials who know what’s going on, who are part of the process. All of these key stakeholders are basically watching what the electoral officials are doing. So what we give you at the end of the electoral process is true to the confirmation of those who watched over the polling process and the counting process and therefore the allocation.”

He also details the number of legislative frameworks that “guarantee us a free election”.

The election will take place on a yet to be announced date between 18 May and 15 August 2024.

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