IEC aims for a free and fair election

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Western Cape says it is committed to run free and fair local government elections for the millions of voters who went to the polls yesterday Wednesday August 3.

At the launch of the provincial results centre at the Century City Conference Centre on Friday July 29, provincial electoral officer Courtney Sampson called for political tolerance, saying, “There are going to be very disappointed people next week this time.”

He was referring to the number of candidates contesting elections – 7 869 across the Western Cape – for the 914 available seats in the different municipalities.

In the City of Cape Town, there are 231 seats available, with candidates who vied for 116 wards. Nationally, there were 203 political parties taking part in the elections, 77 in the Western Cape. The proportional representation (PR) ballot paper in the province was an A3 sheet to accommodate the increased number of candidates.

Mr Sampson said the voting stations were turned into counting stations, and to ensure the integrity of the election, counting was done in the presence of party agents. “So you can see there is no attempt to interfere with the will of the people,” he said.

The IEC had 17 000 staff in the field on election day.

Special votes, which includes home visits for those who cannot go to the polls on voting day, took place earlier on Monday and Tuesday. Across the province, 53 597 voters have applied to cast special votes.

IEC vice chairman Terry Tselane described this election as “one of the most difficult in the history of our country.”

This he said had been caused by questions around the voters roll, an increase in the number of political parties and independent candidates, and violence, especially intra-party fighting, which had never been an issue before. “It is time to relook the code of conduct of political parties because it doesn’t even speak of intra-party violence,” he said.

Last week, an ANC councillor was killed in the Eastern Cape, while there’s been similar incidents in KwaZulu-Natal.