A decade of free elections: IEC

3 August 2007

South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is marking ten years of administering successful elections locally and assisting in elections around the continent by launching a book documenting its endeavours and also raising public awareness to “go green” amongst others.

IEC chairperson Brigalia Bam said in a statement this week that the commission’s tenth anniversary was an important event in the history of the organisation, providing an opportunity to raise its profile and “showcase the remarkable work done by the organisation behind the scenes and demonstrate the value added by the IEC”.

Established in terms of South Africa’s Constitution, the electoral body was created in 1997, at a time when the country did not have a national common voters’ roll.

The IEC said the first voters’ roll compiled in 1999 contained more than 18-million names and the current roll has grown to more than 20-million prospective voters.

As South Africa did not have any voting districts, the IEC created 14 650 voting districts around the country between June and November 1998, for the first voter registration drive. The number of voting districts in the country has since increased to 18 873.

As part of its anniversary celebrations, the IEC will launch a book documenting its first ten years in pictures, create a mobile photo exhibition of its work, as well as hold national and provincial celebratory campaigns.

The commission has also committed itself to a “go green” campaign together with its partners to raise environmental awareness.

The IEC lists some other notable achievements including the successful declaration of “free and fair” results following four general elections in South Africa, the absence of violence associated with electoral contestation and interacting with the general public through its electoral and democracy education programmes.

The commission said these and many other milestones would be highlighted between July and November this year, by way of a dedicated programme of activities that would pay tribute to the organisation’s contribution to the current macro political stability in South Africa.

“The organisation is mindful of a number of challenges that are still faced on the ongoing journey of the country’s democracy,” the IEC said.

“The tenth anniversary celebrations will therefore also create an opportunity to reflect on these challenges.”

Source: BuaNews