A candidate vying for a vacancy in the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says the body has to have the highest ethical standards.
Anti-Apartheid activist and former politician Janet Love, who has served as the Vice Chairperson of the IEC since 2018, was the first candidate placed before the panel chaired by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Love is one of the 12 candidates who will be interviewed throughout the day for the vacancy.
When probed by Zondo on her understanding of the mandate of the IEC, Love says, “”I think the mandate is spelt out in the constitution, it is to do everything to ensure free and fair elections in order to ensure that it can harness the energy of all South Africans…”
Love says the body has to be ethical and have the highest level of fairness.
“Elections are at the heart of democracy to make them free and fair, it’s a body that has to have the highest ethical standards, impartial, fair… it needs the means it needs transparency and it needs to ensure that what it does have resonance…” says Love.
Livestream: IEC interviews
Challenges facing IEC
Love has warned of challenges that face the Electoral Commission. Love says the IEC has to ramp up efforts to encourage voter participation among the youth. She warns that among the challenges faced by the electoral body lies a trust deficit in the organisation and other public institutions.
She lists three challenges faced by the IEC.
“Challenges with regard to participation and that’s very much in terms of youth. Secondly, there’s a big trust deficit generally in all state institutions and unfortunately, the Commission does not escape that and thirdly, the contestation, the emotion that is part of that contestation is a lot sharper. So because of those three things, the Commission has to take on board things that it may not have had to prioritise in the same way historically.”
South Africans value elections but voter apathy, distrust of IEC may threaten democracy: