SADC commends 2016 Local Elections

The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries (ECF-SADC) says the 2016 Local Government Elections adhered to the legal framework governing elections in South Africa.

On behalf of the ECF-SADC… I want to congratulate the people of the Republic of South Africa, the Independent Electoral Commission of the Republic of South Africa, all electoral stakeholders and the government, on the orderly and peaceful municipal elections whose outcome the ECF-SADC Observer Mission believes will reflect the will of the people, the head of the ECF-SADC Electoral Observer Mission and chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission of Lesotho, Justice Mahapela Lehohla said.

The mandate of the ECF-SADC includes strengthening cooperation amongst member Electoral Commissions in the SADC region and promoting conditions conducive to credible as well as transparent elections.

Lehohla was addressing the media on Friday on the forum’s observations during the elections in the country.

The innovative and effective state-of-the-art facilities applied at the Results Operations Centre (ROC) and in the provincial results operation centres are in a class of their own and are worth emulating.

The enhancement of security features and facilities provided at the ROC, including accreditation, were impressive, Lehohla said.

He said the mission observed that opening procedures were followed in most voting stations visited, while some voting stations opened late due to delayed delivery of materials.

Management of voters’ rolls was sufficient. The layout of voting stations allowed ease of access to the voters.

Security personnel were visible at all voting stations. Political agents were present and were predominantly young people, he said.

Lehohla noted that voters that needed assistance were given priority to vote and assisted in the presence of party agents.

Closing procedures were followed. Counting was done in the presence of party agents and observers, he said.

Speaking on some of the recommendations for the IEC, he said any incident occurring at voting stations should be properly documented.

There is a need to bring consistency in the administration of some of the election processes at all voting stations.

For example, inking before issuing of ballot papers, voting staff identification, voting booths orientation and labelling of ballot boxes, Lehohla said.

Furthermore, election materials should be delivered on time to avoid delays in the opening of voting stations.

Source: Government Communication and Information System