IEC says it has all its ducks in a row for the upcoming elections

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As the much-anticipated 2024 Election Day fast approaches, the IEC says they have their ducks in a row. For the first time in the general election, voters will be given three ballot papers where they will choose their preferred political party and candidate of choice.

Independent candidates will for the first time contest for a seat in the National Assembly.

Candidates will be competing for 400 seats in the National Assembly and will be allocated through a proportional system. 200 seats are reserved for the National list, contested only by political parties, and the remaining 200 seats are divided up among the nine regions, contested by both independents and parties.

This year’s election coincides with the South Africa’s 30 years of democracy.

Now that the president has announced the much-anticipated day of elections, systems are now in place for the day. The IEC says from its side, measures are in place for the 29th of May.

IEC Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, says that unlike before, for the first time in history, South Africans will be exposed to three ballot papers.

In previous elections, there were only two ballots – a national ballot for parliament and a provincial one for the provincial legislature.

Now, the third ballot will be for the regional seats reserved for each of the regions in the National Assembly.

“The elections of the National Assembly is going to be on the basis of two separate ballot papers. The first ballot paper is what we call a regional ballot and the original ballot is intended to elect members of the National Assembly from the nine provinces. In other words, each province will have a unique regional ballot, and the purpose of that ballot is to ensure that the provincial interest is represented in the national law-making body, which is the National Assembly. Independent candidates are going to be appearing on that regional ballot.”

Mamabolo said there is a two-tier system in the National Assembly election.

A regional tier and a compensatory tier.

The second ballot, called the compensatory ballot, will only be contested by political parties.

“The second ballot for the National Assembly is what we refer to as the compensatory ballot and that ballot will only be contested by political parties. The purpose of the compensatory ballot is to restore overall proportionality, because the constitution demands that whatever the electoral system there may be in the country, it must at the end of the day result in overall proportionality. In other words, the allocation of seats must reflect the proportional strength of each political party in the National Assembly itself.”

Spoiled for choice South Africans will have the option of choosing from both independent candidates and political parties as they choose their provincial and national representative.

Mamabolo explained that the provincial ballot will now contain provincial parties as well as independent candidates.

“The third ballot is the provincial ballot who’s purpose is the election of representatives into the provincial legislature. On that ballot it will contain political parties as well as independent candidates.”