The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has formally launched its program for the 2024 national and provincial elections (NPE 2024), signalling its readiness to facilitate millions of eligible voters at more than 23,296 polling stations nationwide next year.
One significant aspect of the NPE 2024 is its historical nature, as it marks the first occasion where independent candidates will have the opportunity to compete for seats in the national and provincial elections, thanks to legislation signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April.
The launch event, held at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, was attended by various stakeholders, including political parties. Mosotho Moepya, the chairperson of the IEC, and Sy Mamabolo, the chief electoral officer, presided over the event.
Mamabolo expressed the IEC’s confidence in its readiness, emphasising that the elections will proceed as mandated by the Constitution, with the current legislatures continuing in office until the newly elected public representatives can assume their roles. This suggests that elections may occur between May and mid-August, with the election date to be proclaimed by President Ramaphosa after consulting with the Electoral Commission. The expectation is that provincial elections will once again be synchronised with the national election, as has been the practice for the past 30 years.
Mamabolo highlighted that once the Electoral Amendment Act was signed into law, the commission worked diligently to finalise the necessary supporting business applications to implement the Act. The commission also reiterated its commitment to open nearly all voting stations on the weekend of November 18 and 19 for voter registration and verification, promoting equitable access to the vote.
The Electoral Commission has modernised registration procedures to enable continuous voter enrollment through various modalities, including an online portal at www.elections.org.za, local commission offices, and activation campaigns. The theme for NPE 2024 is ‘Your Democracy, Own It,’ and the IEC encouraged South Africans to actively participate in the registration weekends and utilise its online portal for registration, verification, and updates.
The IEC called on all electoral stakeholders to collaborate in making these historic elections a success. Chairperson Moepya expressed immense pride and a profound sense of responsibility, noting the progress made since the historic elections in 1994 and the importance of embracing the challenges ahead.
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Photo: Supplied by Citizen