Election commission applauds IEC for elections

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pretoria - The Election Commissions Forum (ECF) has congratulated the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for conducting a free and fair election.

The work of the ECF, a body falling under the Southern African Development Community (SADC), is to ensure that electoral commissions carry out their work transparently and free of favour.

During a briefing at the IEC's Results Operation Centre on Friday, the ECF said despite a few hiccups, South Africa's fourth democratic elections went off smoothly.

"We applaud the IEC of South Africa for the manner they have handled these elections," ECF head of forum professor Balafi Tsie told reporters.

He said a 27-member team visited five of the country's provinces where it observed elections at different polling stations.

The team is due to meet with the IEC soon to table its report and recommendations on how the IEC can improve its work.

Among others, the ECF has recommended that the IEC and government revisit a provision in the law that allows voters to vote at any voting station.

It said the practice had created a logistical nightmare for the IEC with officials having to turn away voters due to unavailability of ballot boxes in some areas.

The ECF also recommended that the national ballot paper be "distinguishable" from the provincial ones.

"What we observed was that voters were often confused in differentiating between a national and provincial ballot," Professor Tsie said.

The IEC has promised to look at some of the recommendation at its post elections meeting.