South Africa: IEC Cautions Parties Against Pre-Empting Election Results

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has cautioned political parties against pre-empting election results and making uninformed announcements.

The warning was made during the launch of the results operation centre (ROC) in Pretoria on Tuesday.

IEC chair Glen Mashinini said transparency was the single most key factor in the commission's election process. This enabled the commission to establish trust among voters and stakeholders, he added.

Addressing political parties in attendance, he said party agents from each of the 48 political parties contesting the elections would be involved in the rigorous counting process and would be allowed to sign off on each slip.

"This transparency does come with a certain measure of responsibility, only the IEC can proclaim and announce the results, therefore, we appeal to stakeholders to respect this," he added.

More than 22 000 voting stations will be opened across the country on May 8.

Chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo announced that the commission had trained and recruited more than 189 000 volunteers to conduct voting at those stations. The commission printed nearly 60 million ballot boxes and 45 000 voting compartments, he added.

Mamabolo explained that the commission had some challenges during the process. These included the collection of addresses for voters - almost 85% were successfully acquired from voters.

"A record number of political parties has also presented us with new challenges including longer ballot papers, more ballot boxes, higher transport and printing costs and more party agents at voting stations," he said.

International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu praised the IEC for its work saying that South Africa was an example to the world in its fair and transparent elections.

"I'm so proud to be a South African. I'm so proud to have this democracy. I don't think any other country can compete with this kind of transparency and election work. We are a great country.

"The IEC has been the pillar of our democracy. It just works to incorporate everybody. When results are published, nobody will have any doubts," Sisulu said.

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