South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is fully prepared to administer the national and provincial elections on Wednesday, says Kate Bapela.
Categorized as “special voting,” sick prospective voters, security officers, and electoral commission officials who will be working on the day of the election, were allowed to vote ahead of Wednesday’s general election.
South Africans abroad were for the first time able to vote at the over 100 embassies in the respective countries they reside.
“South Africans who were casting their ballot overseas or beyond the borders of South Africa have completed the casting of their ballot and so we are happy with the progress. Already, most of the ballot papers are coming to the country to be counted with the rest of the Election Day ballot that will be cast on the 7th of May,” said Bapela.
She said measures have been implemented to ensure the credibility of the vote.
“We are extremely ready because by the time we get to the national results operation center, it’s a clear signal that we are ready to proceed with election. Our officials have been trained also, the result system is ready to upload results that would be coming from voting stations across the country,” said Bapela.
The results of the vote from centers across the country will be counted at the IEC’s national headquarters to determine the final outcome of the entire election, says Bapela.
According to South Africa’s electoral law, the IEC can announce the outcome of an election within 7 days after the conclusion of a vote.
“So we are thinking that around Friday most of the results must have come in and if all goes well, we must release the results over the coming weekend,” said Bapela. “All of these will depend on the ability of our officials to upload the results and to ensure that everything is done in order. So we are hoping that by the weekend, all results should have been uploaded.”
She says election commission officials have been properly trained to administer the vote after promising a well-organized and administered transparent election.
Some analysts worry about possible voter apathy in the upcoming vote. But, Bapela says the electoral body expects a high voter turnout.
“We are hoping that we will have no less than 70 percent. We are hoping that South Africans will come out in their numbers and then use the occasion as well to celebrate 20 years of democracy,” said Bapela.
The latest opinion polls show that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) would win the election despite stiff challenge from opposition parties including the Democratic Alliance (DA).