IEC ready for 2024 general elections

It’s all systems go for the 2024 general elections. The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on Monday, provided feedback on its state of readiness ahead of the elections.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced 29 May as the day for the national and provincial elections. Voter registration was officially closed on Friday. Government has gazetted and proclaimed the election date and declared it a public holiday.

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The Electoral Commission published the provisional voters’ roll for inspection. Chief electoral officer, Sy Mamabolo, explained that an Election Timetable was published following consultation with the National Political Liaison Committee.

‘’The timetable is the motive force in the intensive preparations for the delivery of the 2024 general elections. The timetable outlines all the key cut-off-times and dates for the performance of salient electoral activities. The timetable contains crucial performance dates for election contestants as well as the broad voting public.  As regards the voting public, the focal point is accessing the voting process through special arrangements including dates for applications for special votes and notifications to vote outside of voting stations of registration.’’

‘’As it pertains to contestants, the timetable is equally crucial in that it contains key dates to be complied with relating to the nomination of candidates and the payment of prescribed deposits,’’ said Mamabolo.

He said voter verifications as well as other validations are currently underway to ensure that there is compliance with the provisions of the law in respect of eligibility to vote.

‘’An electronic version of the voters’ roll will be made available at all offices of the Commission for inspection purposes. Those who wish to object to the inclusion or exclusion of a voter on the voters’ roll must do so by 4 March 2024. The objections received on or before 4 March 2024 will be considered, investigated and determined by the Commission by 11 March 2024.’’

‘’It is important to remind role-players that objections to the voters’ roll are governed by the law. As such, both the procedural as well as the substantive requirements of Section 15 of the Electoral Act must be satisfied when lodging an objection. The pertinent aspects in this regard, include outlining the relief sought and establishing the basis for such relief as well as serving the objection on the person against whom the objection is raised.’’

‘’Following the determination of voters’ roll objections, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) will certify the voters’ roll on 12 March 2024.  Electronic copies of the certified voters’ roll will be made available to contestants and a printed copy will be prepared for use in voting stations on Election Day,’’ he added.

Mamabolo said this year’s election introduces novel experiences for the voters such as a third ballot in the National and Provincial Elections as well as the participation of independent candidates for the very first time.

For purposes of candidate nomination, he said the Commission promotes the use of the online Candidate Nomination (CNS) platform.

‘’It is convenient and facilitates compliance with the requirements of the law as it provides a compliance dashboard for users. Furthermore, the online platform generates pro-forma invoices and a payment gateway for the payment of prescribed deposits.’’

‘’All independent candidates and political parties who intend to contest this general election must submit nomination requirements by 17:00 on 8 March 2024. The Electoral Commission will, after verifying the submitted nomination documents, issue notices on non-compliance where such are warranted. These notices will be issued on 18 March 2024 and those issued with such notices must rectify non-compliance by 20 March 2024.’’

‘’In previous elections, there were candidates who were nominated by more than one political party.  The law now obliges the Electoral Commission to notify affected parties and offer them an opportunity to either remove the said candidate and substitute or confirm their continued candidature. These notifications will be issued on 22 March 2024 and political parties have until 25 March 2024 to submit requests for removal, substitution or confirmation of candidature.’’

‘’Our electoral scheme acknowledges that it is a matter of immense national importance for the citizens to know who the nominated candidates are. The publication of the provisional lists of candidates goes to the heart of the vote based on informed choices. Therefore, the provisional lists of candidates will be published for inspection on 26 and 27 March.’’

‘’Interested parties may object against certain prospective candidates who are nominated. Such objections must be lodged with the Commission on 27 March 2024. The Commission will decide on these objections on 28 March 2024.  Any person or political party or entity that is not satisfied with decision of the Commission may approach the Electoral Court to appeal the objection decision. The Electoral Court’s appeals must be lodged by 02 April 2024. The Electoral Court will determine appeals relating to candidates on 9 April 2024,’’ says Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer.

Mamabolo says the Electoral Commission will publish the final lists of candidates on 10 April and certificates of candidature will be issued to certified candidates, two days thereafter. The conclusion of the candidate nomination process, says the IEC head, will set in motion the ballot paper printing project.

He says the official list of the 23 292 voting stations to be used in these elections will be availed for inspection from 12 April 2024. This list, he says, will include the addresses of voting stations as well as the stopping times of the 33 mobile voting stations.

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With regards to special votes, and those who are infirm and confined and, thus, unable to reach voting stations, must apply to be visited for a special vote at home.

‘’On the other hand, those who will not be in their voting districts on 29 May 2024 may apply for a special vote to cast ballots ahead of Election Day. Both home visits and voting station based special votes will happen on two days, 27 and 28 May 2024. The applications for special votes will close on 3 May 2024,’’ said Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer.

Those who intend to vote outside of the country and who are registered on a specific country’s segment of the voters’ roll, do not have to give notice to the CEO that they will be voting in that country.

‘’The law assumes that they will be voting at the diplomatic mission of registration. Those registered elsewhere including locally registered voters who intend to vote at a particular diplomatic mission outside the country, must give notice to the CEO of their intention to vote in that country. The notice to vote out of country may be submitted as of today until 22 April 2024. An online notification facility (VEC10) is available on the Electoral Commission’s website.’’

‘’Special voting at the diplomatic missions will happen either Friday, 17 May 2024, or Saturday, 18 May 2024.  The exact date for each diplomatic mission will be determined considering the host’s country dominant religious and cultural practices,’’ he added.

The Electoral Commission re-emphasised that voters must vote where they are registered. However, in the event a voter intends to be in a different voting district on voting day, Electoral head, Sy Mamabolo says such a voter must notify the Commission of their intended absence from their voting district and the voting station where they wish to cast the vote.

‘’A notification portal will soon be launched for this purpose. Notifications in this regard will close on 17 May 2024. The Electoral Commission reiterates its willingness and ability to deliver this mammoth national project. The publication of the timetable and the cut-off-dates it entails serve as an impetus for the intensification of the preparations. All staff of the Electoral Commission stand ready to fulfil their tasks and thus ensure that it meets its constitutional duties pertaining to the 2024 general elections,’’ concluded Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer.

For Bush Radio News, I’m Mitchum George


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