2016 ELECTIONS REVIEWED
*Caption: Civil Society Organisations that participated in the local government election observer mission in KZN.
Written by: Menelisi Ndwandwe
The Democracy Development Program (DDP) partnered with KwaZulu-Natal Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Coalition to debrief and deflect on the recent elections of the 3rd of August at the Maharani Hotel on Monday, where civil society promised to continue playing a fundamental role in ensuring that democracy is in action..
Political Analyst Sthembiso Madlala of DDP, gave a preliminary report that has been complied for the purposes of revising the elections.
“IEC’s impartiality, objectivity and competency were under constant scrutiny,” said Madlala.
“The key issues were intraparty conflicts, claims that candidates were imposed and 12 councillor candidates died before local government election,” he added.
Mxolisi Nyuswa, whose task was to oversee the monitoring of elections, said that there were pros and cons.
“The coordination could have been better and hotspots were not predictable,” said Nyuswa.
“The emergence of more independent candidates makes it impossible to know hotspots; areas like Folweni suffered from the major protest because of community desolation with the candidate list,” he explained.
Ntombifuthi Masinga from IEC KZN, emphasised the importance of understanding the legal framework of elections.
“The claim of IEC staff members wearing political party regalia at some voting stations are impossible because it’s against the rules,” said Masinga.
She added that they have a threshold that determines where the voting station must be established and if there is a need for a tent, they use it as the alternative.
Masinga responded to the issue of hiring educators at the voting stations and she said they need people with leadership skills.
“Presiding officer and deputy PO are mostly educators at many voting stations because these are positions that require certain skills of management and the rest of the staff are the unemployed youth and people from underprivileged homes in the community,” she explained.
On the 9th of November, the IEC will hold by-elections because of the killings of councillor candidates prior the 3rd of August.