Plans in place to ensure safety of voters and staff
Johannesburg – The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has assured Parliamentarians it was ready to deliver a successful election and voters registration weekend with preparations well under way.
The IEC, on Friday, briefed the joint Parliamentary Committees on Home Affairs and Select Committee on Security and Justice on the implications of the Constitutional Court ruling on the Local Government Elections and the Commission’s readiness.
Chairperson of the IEC, Glen Mashinini, told the joint committees that detailed programmes and project plans were “on track”.
He clarified that issues raised by the IEC in its court application to delay the local government elections were “probable risks”.
He said the IEC made its application based on the recommendation of retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke in his inquiry report, that it would not be safe to hold the national local government elections in October in the wake of an increasing number of Covid-19 infections and deaths.
IEC Deputy CEO Masego Sheburi told the committee that their plans always contemplated an election for the original date in October and their level of preparedness remained on par.
He said that plans were also in place to ensure voters and staff were well protected against the deadly Covid-19 pandemic with personal protective equipment and sanitisers readily available.
Sheburi said IEC officials were currently in the process of updating contracts and re-confirming the availability of venues for both the voters’ registration weekend and election day.
With the IEC announcing voter registration to take place next weekend, Sheburi said they were in the process of providing refresher courses for staff.
He said that all logistical resources were in storage facilities and being prepared and packed for distribution to voting registration stations.
Sheburi said that they were also in the process of stress-testing new 40 000 Voter Management Devices, which would be used for the first time over the registration weekend.
“These are being charged and will be distributed to voting stations. These devices will facilitate the process of voter verification almost instantaneously,” he said.
The voter registration weekend would offer all eligible citizens an opportunity to register or update their registration details. All the 23 151 voting stations would open from 8am to 5pm on both days.