South Africa: Electronic voting being considered, as ANC’s national working committee discusses challenges facing local elections | Lizeka Tandwa/News24

The ANC’s national working committee (NWC) has discussed a range of possibilities, including electronic voting for next year’s local elections. News24 recently reported that the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is in consultation to possibly postpone next year’s local government elections due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During its Monday meeting, the NWC said it discussed a range of responses on these and other challenges impacting next year’s electoral system. It includes a synchronisation of elections at national, provincial and local spheres of government; introducing elements of constituency-based representation at national and provincial spheres, consistent with the constitutional requirement for an electoral system that results, in general, in proportional representation; and the use of electronic voting.

South Africa: Opposition parties call for early elections | AFP

South African opposition parties on Monday (Feb 12) called for early elections as the ruling African National Congress (ANC) wrestled with a leadership battle between President Jacob Zuma and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa. “We must proceed to the dissolution of parliament… subsequent to that, we move on to an early election,” Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters, speaking alongside several opposition parties. The ANC’s executive committee held a special meeting on Monday, and could “recall” Zuma from office. But Zuma – who has refused to resign – would be under no constitutional obligation to obey the order.

South Africa: Democracy and violence – the threat to South Africa’s elections | Martin Plaut/Daily Maverick

The ruptures of the apartheid era have been carried over into post-apartheid society, leaving the country with a tragic reputation for beatings, murder and the abuse of women and children. Police record some 650,000 victims of violence a year. As a recent headline put it: “South Africa is one of the most violent and unsafe countries in the world.” There is little trust in the police and more than 500,000 private security guards are employed by firms and individuals at a cost of $3.7-billion a year – more than twice the number of police officers. This climate of violence is carried over into political life, yet outside of South Africa this is little understood. Most international observers assume the miracle of the reconciliation ushered in by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with the Rainbow Nation still prevails. Yet the evidence is that political murders and intimidation now disfigure South African politics. Violence and intimidation threaten the legitimacy of the 2019 general election. Unless these issues are recognised and confronted there is a risk that the democracy for which so much was sacrificed will be undermined.

South Africa: IEC is running out of time for up-to-date voters’ roll | Business Day

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) is in a race against time to verify the particulars and addresses of 7.2-million people on the voters roll ahead of the 2019 general election. The credibility of the 2019 poll hinges on the IEC ensuring that the voters roll meets acceptable norms and standards, as prescribed by the Constitutional Court. In June 2016, the Constitutional Court ordered the electoral authority to verify, as well as add, voters’ residential addresses on the roll following a successful application to the court by independent candidates who contested the outcomes of by-elections in Tlokwe, North West, in 2013.

South Africa: IEC goes online to capture voter addresses | ITWeb

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has turned to technology to support its efforts to capture the addresses of over 26 million registered voters before 30 June 2018. In 2016, the Constitutional Court ordered the IEC to correctly capture the addresses of all registered voters on the voters’ roll before the 2019 general elections. Yesterday, the IEC unveiled MyIEC, an online portal that allows South African voters to submit or update their registration details when they have changed address or when there has been a change in their identity number. … The implementation of online systems in relation to the democratic voting process often brings up concerns of security, especially where citizens’ sensitive information is concerned.

South Africa: Independent Electoral Commission Warns People Of Email Scam | Buzz South Africa

The attention of South Africans have been drawn to a recent email making rounds in the country. According to the SA Independent Electoral Commission, “the emails are being distributed by the ‘Independent Elections Council’ under the email address and have ‘Electronic Voting Testing Phase’ in the subject field.” Speaking further, the SA Independent Electoral Commission says the fraudlents designed the whole process in a way that, unsuspecting users are automatically lodged in a site that has similar features with the Independent Electoral Commission of SA, once they click a link attached to the email.

South Africa: Election Shows Many South Africans Losing Faith in ‘Pompous’ A.N.C. | The New York Times

A week before South Africa’s local elections on Wednesday, the Zithas held a family meeting inside their entertainment room to decide how to vote. Loyal backers of the African National Congress in every election since the end of apartheid, the family decided it was time for a change. Now, on a leisurely Sunday morning, as his wife and daughter got ready for church, Danny Zitha, 61, a former high school teacher, said the long-governing A.N.C. had left him disillusioned because of its corruption, arrogance and incompetence. He will never go back, he said. “Not at all, as long as I’m alive, sorry,” he said, adding with a laugh, “Maybe after death.” The A.N.C., which was the party of Nelson Mandela and helped free South Africa from white-minority rule, suffered its worst losses ever at the polls in the municipal elections last week. Unrivaled for the past two decades, the party lost control of two black-majority cities, including the capital, Pretoria, in what many believe is a profound change in how race and the legacy of apartheid influence South African politics. The party’s decline was especially steep in the biggest cities, with many black, middle-class voters in places like Chantelle, a suburb of Pretoria, turning against it. Twenty-two years after the end of apartheid, such voters appeared more concerned with mundane matters like good governance and taxes than with the party’s heroic liberation past.

South Africa: ANC takes early lead but may lose grip on cities | The Guardian

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party has taken an early lead as vote counting continued in local government elections where it faces the risk of losing control of key cities for the first time since coming to power. The party, which toppled white apartheid rule after the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, is up against its stiffest electoral challenge to date amid a backdrop of high unemployment, a stagnant economy and controversies surrounding the president, Jacob Zuma. With a quarter of the votes counted by 3am BST on Thursday, the ANC had 50%, against 34% for the Democratic Alliance (DA) and 6% for the Economic Freedom Fighters, which was participating in only its second election. Opinion polls see a close race in the nation’s capital, Pretoria, and South Africa’s economic hub, Johannesburg. In the early hours of Thursday, the ANC and DA were neck-and-neck at 43% each in Tshwane municipality, which contains Pretoria, although only 15% of the votes had been counted.

South Africa: IEC postpones all by-elections | Business Tech

The Electoral Commission of South Africa has postponed all by-elections in the light of continued uncertainty regarding the validity of the voters’ roll where voters’ addresses are not in the possession of the Electoral Commission. The Commission on Monday said this also includes by-elections scheduled for 6 April 2016. “The Electoral Commission made the decision in the interest of free and fair elections following the recent order by the Electoral Court to postpone by-elections in Tlokwe scheduled for 24 February 2016,” the Commission said. The Electoral Commission on 23 February 2016 postponed all 12 by-elections scheduled for the following day in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West and the Western Cape.

South Africa: Election 2016 going ahead – IEC | eNCA

There is no consideration by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to postpone the upcoming 2016 municipal elections, vice chairperson Terry Tselane said on Monday. “I must indicate here that from the side of the commission, there has never been a consideration to postpone the election. That question has never arisen and it will not arise,” Tselane told reporters at a briefing in Pretoria. “We are confident that we will be able to deal with all the issues that we are supposed to be dealing with. We will then be able to deliver the elections with constitutionally stipulated period. That is important … because there is a narration saying otherwise, particularly in the media.”

South Africa: Voting ends, counting starts | Associated Press

Polling stations closed Wednesday evening in elections in South Africa that are expected to see the ruling African National Congress (ANC) return to power despite a vigorous challenge from opposition parties seeking to capitalize on discontent with corruption and economic inequality. Voting in the fifth all-race polls in South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994 wrapped up at 9 p.m. and South Africa’s election commission said the first results were expected in the following hours. Officials will declare final results no earlier than Saturday, allowing time to address any objections to the process. The election commission said most voting went smoothly. About 25 million South Africans, roughly half the population, registered to vote in the parliamentary elections that will also determine the president. Some 22,000 voting stations opened at schools, places of worship, tribal authority sites and hospitals, and several dozen vehicles serving as mobile voting stations visited remote areas.

South Africa: Polls open in South Africa election | BBC

Polls have opened in South Africa’s fifth general election since the end of apartheid 20 years ago. The governing African National Congress (ANC) is tipped to win, returning President Jacob Zuma for a second five-year term. However, it might lose some ground amid concern over high unemployment and a number of corruption scandals. The run-up to the vote has been marked by protests and troops have been deployed to boost security. The election is the first time that those born after the end of white-minority rule are able to take part and commentators say much will depend on how they cast their ballots. Polls show many are disaffected with the country’s leadership but it is not clear whether this will translate into a significant swing to either main opposition party – the Democratic Alliance, led by anti-apartheid activist Helen Zille, or the Economic Freedom Fighters, headed by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema.

South Africa: We vote in public… South Africa’s first real-time, tweeted election | memeburn

It’s different this time. In South Africa’s last general election in 2009, 99% of people had never even heard of Twitter (only a handful of people in the county had accounts back then, and they hardly used them). This time round, millions are on Twitter. Over 5.5-million, in fact (according to the most recent study by World Wide Worx). By this stage, that number’s probably closer to 6-million… All tweeting, retweeting and consuming in real-time. Of course the US Presidential Election in 2012 gave the world a taste of all of this. Then, though, the combination of Twitter and TV was still in its infancy. South Africa’s last election — the municipal election in 2011 — was still too early. Plus, politicking and campaigning was very localised. In planning for Wednesday’s election, South African television news networks (and news websites) must’ve been salivating at the thought. Especially now that there are three (!) 24-hour news channels to fill. The complex process of audience interaction on broadcast television has been largely solved by Twitter. The paradigm has shifted completely – from tweeting about what’s on the news, to Twitter becoming news. What better (and cheaper) way to fill hours and hours of dead broadcast time than with presenters reading random tweets?

South Africa: Tight security ahead of the elections | IOL News

With less than 100 hours until South Africa’s fifth democratic elections kick off, the countdown has begun. Political parties are pulling out all the stops to woo last-minute voters, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is geared up to receive its 25.3 million voters and over 20 000 law-enforcement officers have been deployed across the country, with the SA National Defence Force on stand-by. On Saturday, the ministers in the justice, crime prevention and security cluster visited Bekkersdal in Gauteng to assure residents that voting will proceed smoothly. The township – which has been engulfed in service delivery protests since last year – is one of several areas countrywide identified as hot spots ahead of the elections.

South Africa: Expats’ troubled vote | Times Live

Hundreds of South African expats will be unable to vote in this year’s general election because of an alleged government communications botch up. Voters living abroad will go to the polls tomorrow, exactly a week before citizens at home do so. The miscommunication has been attributed to a failure by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, and by the Independent Electoral Commission, to tell the expats that they must complete a form if they want to vote. The error, according to South Africa’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Jeanette Ndhlovu, has created a “problem everywhere”. “I’ve been in touch with my colleagues at other embassies and many other expats also failed to submit the VEC10 forms on time. It will not be possible for them to vote,” Ndhlovu told The Times. The form is a required notification to the IEC of intention to vote. It specifies where the voter wants to cast his ballot. The deadline for filling in the form was midnight on March 12.

South Africa: Elections Hub Launched Online |

Google has launched an online portal where voters, journalists and campaigners can easily track all the latest news, trends and information related to the 2014 elections. The South African Elections Hub serves as a one-stop site for voters to access election-related information, including party and candidate information, where to vote, real-time election news, search trends and some of the most engaging elections-related YouTube videos from a wide range of political parties, media and civil society. The Elections Hub is also mobile-friendly. Google has worked with a range of stakeholders including media, civil society organisations and political parties, enabling them to use technology to innovate during the elections and allow voters and politicians to share, discuss, and make informed decisions.

South Africa: Electoral Body to Begin Preparation for Election | VoA News

South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) plans to close its voter registration list after President Jacob Zuma officially publishes the May 7 general election date in the government’s gazette on Tuesday. “President Jacob Zuma will be proclaiming the election date that means the election date would be published in the government gazette. Our offices will be opened across the country from 8 O’clock until five in the evening,” said Kate Bapela, IEC spokesperson. “At 12 midnight, the voters’ role for the 2014 national and provincial elections closes [and] that means that anyone who registers after midnight today will never be able to participate in the upcoming election,” she said.

South Africa: Voter registration to go ahead despite threats: IEC | SABC

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says its officials and those wanting to register for next years’ poll this weekend cannot be threatened to stay away. Some communities have warned IEC officials to stay out of their areas because service delivery issues that have not been  addressed. Residents of Leratong Park, outside Kimberley, say they have been fighting for decent houses for more than 15 years, and are threatening to abstain from voting next year. Some say the IEC must stay away from their area this weekend. One of the residents who refused to be mentioned says: “We are  not going to vote. Nothing changes and all stays the same.” Residents in Noupoort and some villages in Kuruman have also threatened to stop IEC officials from doing their jobs this weekend. IEC Deputy Chairperson, Terry Tselane says: “We expect a smooth weekend. People can’t hold democracy at ransom.” In Malamulele, residents have mixed views on the registration process. The area has been engulfed in violent protests in recent  weeks. Officials are concerned.

South Africa: Right to vote abroad set to become law | The South African

With South Africa’s next national election coming up in 2014, the right of citizens to vote abroad looks set to be written into law. The Electoral Act of 1998 currently only allows government officials, travelling sporting teams and people on business trips or holidays abroad to cast special votes – if they notify the  Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) within 15 days of the proclamation of the election date. However, in 2009 this stipulation was successfully challenged in court by the Freedom Front Plus, AfriForum and others. The Constitutional Court found in Richter v Minister of Home Affairs and Others that the Electoral Act was unconstitutional and invalid as it prevented South Africans living overseas from voting. This meant that South Africans in the UK and elsewhere were allowed to vote in the 2009 national election. Now the IEC has taken this a step further and proposed amendments to the Electoral Act that would allow people to vote no matter where they are on election day.

South Africa: E-voting an option for South Africa, but reports cites security concerns, voter dissent and high costs | IOL SciTech

South Africa could soon join countries like India, Brazil and the Phillipines in replacing traditional paper ballot-based voting with electronic voting (e-voting). The director of e-Skills CoLab at the Durban University of Technology, Colin Thakur, recently completed an 18-month study on e-voting to determine the impact it could have here. He announced his findings at a two-day seminar on the subject, which the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) held in Cape Town last week. …  But many countries – such as the Netherlands, Ireland and Australia – introduced and then stopped e-voting. The reasons cited included security concerns, voter dissent and the high costs involved. E-voting would also remove the auditability of an election by taking away the paper ballot and making a recount impossible.

South Africa: Fear and loathing: ANC electoral commission and the media | Daily Maverick

On Thursday that much reviled species, South African media professionals and their international colleagues, convened at the headquarters of the African National Congress, Albert Luthuli House. We went there expecting to glean some official confirmation of who will be standing for leadership positions at the ANC’s national conference in Mangaung this weekend. Now for those of you fortunate enough to be saved the ignominy that comes with being a journalist knocking at the door of Luthuli House, those press briefings you’ve seen on television like the one where Julius Malema was excommunicated from the broad church of the ANC, take place in the foyer of Luthuli House. There is no specially appointed media briefing room. There is rarely sufficient seating. Electrical wiring for cameras and other equipment run out of the room onto the pavement outside and on Thursday the acoustics were especially bad.

South Africa: Motlanthe calls for a political solution to the ANCYL problem | Mail & Guardian Online

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has called for a political solution to the ANC Youth League leadership’s disciplinary woes. Speaking at the league’s lekgotla, being held in Centurion this weekend, Motlanthe said “There is no need that at any given point the relations between the ANC Youth League and the mother body should be fractured.” Youth league president Julius Malema and his deputies are still engaged in a disciplinary hearing with the ANC. They were found guilty of sowing divisions within the mother body and bringing the party into disrepute. Malema received a five-year suspension from the party’s National Disciplinary Committee but has been given leave to argue in mitigation of his sentence.

South Africa: No electronic voting in 2014 | East Coast Radio

The Independent Electoral Commission says it is not planning on rolling out an electronic voting system in our country for the next national elections. The Commission’s Mosotho Moepya says South Africans will still stand in queues to vote at the 2014 general elections. He has been speaking to Newswatch after the Commission revealed it has commissioned…

South Africa: South Africa’s ANC suspends youth leader Julius Malema | BBC News

South Africa’s governing ANC has suspended youth leader Julius Malema from the party for five years. He was found guilty of bringing the party into disrepute and asked to step down as youth league president. Once a close ally of President Jacob Zuma, Mr Malema has become one of his strongest critics, accusing him of ignoring poor South Africans who helped bring him to power in 2009. The BBC’s Milton Nkosi says the verdict boosts Mr Zuma’s re-election bid. Mr Malema wants Mr Zuma replaced as party leader ahead of the 2014 elections, but our correspondent says it is now difficult to see how Mr Malema can affect the ANC leadership contest next year.

Mr Malema has said he will appeal against the ANC’s decision to suspend him, reports eTV news. Mr Malema has 14 days to appeal, but was already suspended for his statements on Zimbabwe and so must vacate his position as Youth League leader immediately. After Mr Malema’s suspension, an ANC spokesperson said: “Disciplinary procedures are not meant to end anybody’s political career, they are meant to correct behaviour.”

eSwatini: Banned Swazi opposition slams SA bailout | News24

Swaziland’s banned opposition criticised on Thursday South Africa’s decision to grant the monarchy a $355m bailout before first requiring democratic reform, including allowing political parties. South Africa announced on Wednesday a R2.4bn ($355m) loan to neighbouring Swaziland on condition that King Mswati III opens talks on reforms in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

The People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) said it was disappointed South Africa had not heeded calls from Swazi activists to withhold the loan until Mswati agreed to allow political parties, banned in 1973. Activists including Pudemo have also called for a transitional government to pave the way for elections within four years.

South Africa: Disappointment at South African election gender figures | News24

The drop in the representation of women in local government confirms the need for laws on increasing the number of women in decision-making positions, the Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities said on Tuesday.

“The ministry is disappointed at the decline in the percentage of women as councillors in the country from 40% in 2006 to 38% after the 2011 local government elections,” the department read.

According to Gender Links research and advocacy organisation, which analysed representation at the May local government elections, in 1995 representation of women in local government was at 19% overall; 29% in 2000; 40% in 2006 and then dropped two percentage points to 38% for May 2011.

South Africa: Independent Electoral Commission dismisses vote-rigging claims in South Africa Free State | SABCNews

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Free State has once more dismissed allegations that votes were rigged at ward 10 in Tseki village, in Qwaqwa, in the eastern part of the province.

The final results of the elections revealed that the ANC had won two of the three polling stations in the Tseki village.

The Dikwankwetla Party of South Africa (DPSA) claimed there were irregularities in the vote count saying that extra ballot papers were smuggled into one of the polling stations.

South Africa: South African local election voting goes smoothly | M&Cnews

Voting in municipal elections proceeded smoothly across South Africa on Wednesday, even in hotly contested districts, where a rising opposition party is hoping to make gains. … Some minor glitches occurred in parts of Johannesburg and in the far north, including several polling machines that did not function and one station that was damaged overnight…

South Africa: South Africa: Ready for your vote | Times LIVE

Tomorrow is election day and the country will become a network of hope, change and unity. To make sure that each of the 23.5-million votes cast will count – literally at least – there are three people and their teams who have been working tirelessly. They are Libisi Maphanga, the chief information officer for the Independent…