The Democratic Alliance (DA) says that its virtual elective congress scheduled for next weekend will be the most accessible in the party’s history. The congress, which is expecting 2 000 delegates, will see the election of new leadership as well as the passing of resolutions to guide the party for the next five years.

The party on Thursday detailed its preparations for the congress including how it will ensure there is no voter fraud.

DA Interim Federal Chairperson Ivan Meyer says that high on its list of principles for the elective congress is ensuring delegate participation and inclusiveness.

“Many delegates may participate from their home and for those who are unable to join from their home, we have created a network of a dozen of venues across the country for delegates to attend and at these particular venues delegates can fully participate as they would in a congress plenary or for example, participation in a congress and voting stations for elections. We call them our hybrid venues. They serve as a hybrid of functions, each one under a deputy presiding officer who reports to the congress through the presiding officers.”

The party says it is confident that the election process to choose its new leadership at the congress will be free and fair. Voting is expected to take place for five hours on the first day of the congress, the 31st of October, and results will be announced on the afternoon of the 1st of November.

DA Electoral Presiding Officer Greg Krumbock says every delegation will receive an SMS with a link to vote.

“Every single delegate, whether they are a home delegate or whether they are a delegate voting at a hybrid venue, will receive an SMS which will give them their open vote link and then a further SMS, which will give them their unique code. What this means is that no delegate will be allowed to vote twice or will be able to vote twice on open votes. The system itself has in-built safeguards to ensure that. So, we are 100% confident that every delegate will vote once and once only, and that has been a concern that has been raised and we believe we have addressed that concern.”

The DA says it has already conducted a dry run of the different processes that will be performed during next week’s congress, saying it has gone to great lengths to ensure that there won’t be any vote tampering or leaks with regard to the results.

“All the votes will be backed up on a flash disk and that will be done in the presence of the candidate agents who are there to make sure that everything is above board and that will be done at our nerve centre on Mill Street in Cape Town. It will be put into a sealable envelope and then the candidates’ agents will accompany our national auditor to a safe where he will have the only key and that disk with a back-up as well will be put in a safe and locked away with the auditor keeping the only set of keys with him. On Sunday, he will then accompany the agents back to the safe where he will retrieve the flash disk, break the seal on the envelope and download the open vote results,” says Krumbock.

The party will give a further update on its congress next week.