IEC urges responsible criticism amidst election controversies

Sy Mamabolo
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has advised political contestants in the upcoming elections to exercise caution when criticising electoral processes and the institution itself.

This comes in response to former President Jacob Zuma’s recent comments expressing concerns about the secrecy surrounding South Africa’s elections, implying potential vote rigging and fraud.

IEC Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo rejected Zuma’s claims, emphasising the transparency of South Africa’s results collation process.

Mamabolo highlighted the multi-layered oversight, including counting in the presence of voting agents, public announcements of results at voting stations, and independent audits.

Zuma’s comments were made during an event of the All African Allied Movement (AAAM), where he questioned the voting processes of the country.

IEC tackles challenges for elections:

Additionally, the IEC is facing legal challenges, defending its registration of the uMkhonto we Sizwe party against the ANC’s objections. The ANC claims that the new party’s logo resembles that of uMkhonto we Sizwe, the ANC’s military wing.

The matter is currently before the electoral court, where the IEC is expected to clarify its actions.

Opposition parties, including Action SA, have called on the IEC to investigate the ANC’s financial capabilities to fund its recent 112th-anniversary celebrations in Mpumalanga. There are concerns about the ANC’s ability to cover its R102 million debt owed to Ezulwini Investments for banners used in the 2019 election campaign.

Mamabolo expressed the IEC’s reluctance to be drawn into political fights but assured that investigations would be conducted if evidence of impropriety emerged.

Despite these controversies, Mamabolo remains confident, attributing such challenges to increased contestation as elections approach. He stressed the importance of criticisms being rooted in the Constitution and the law rather than mere political posturing.

Mamabolo emphasised the need for a mature democracy that upholds the values of the Constitution amid heightened political tensions.

With 350 parties registered with the IEC, what will smaller parties offer voters?