IEC to open results centre on Wednesday

Tuesday, April 14, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The Independent Electoral Commission's (IEC) results centre will open its doors on Wednesday at the Tshwane Events Centre.

The Results Operation Centre (ROC) will allow media, election observers and political party representatives to have access to the latest information and developments at the polls.

South Africans go to the polls next Wednesday for the fourth general elections to be held in the country since reaching democracy.

The Results Operation Centre will serve as the central management point for operational and electoral issues and a focal point for political parties, government, business leaders and the media to gather during the voting, counting and results phases of the elections.

The Centre will operate 24 hours on Election Day. It will be open from 07h00 on 22 April until late in the evening of 23 April, when it is expected that the majority of election results will be in.

Tshwane Events Centre Marketing Officer, Ricky Da Costa said they were proud that the IEC returned to this venue for the fifth time. The IEC has been running elections in the country since 1999, and since then, there were two general elections and two municipal elections that have been held.

"We are proud that the IEC saw it fit to return to this (venue) for the fifth time. We are all set to provide an excellent venue in pursuit of seamless operations for the 2009 elections," Mr Da Costa said.

Chairperson of the IEC, Dr Brigalia Bam said a pool area will be available to media representatives who did not book offices at the ROC. The pool area will be equipped with computers, printing facilities, telephones and faxes.

Except for the use of the telephones and faxes, these facilities will be available free of charge.

Over 23 million voters including 1.5 million new voters are registered for this year's elections.

Dr Bam said the IEC expects a high turnout on Elections Day due to the vibrancy of the current party political scene.

"The vibrancy of the current party political scene contributed to the outstanding enthusiasm of the public to be correctly registered.

"The social responsibility which the media displayed in promoting registration activities contributed greatly.

"All of this bodes well for a high turnout at the elections and that will be good for democracy in our country," she said.

The IEC has received 19 265 applications from South Africans abroad, of which 17 841 applications were approved.

According to the IEC, of the applications approved, 16 240 voters intend to cast a vote on 15 April at some of the South African missions abroad, as indicated on their forms.

The voting station with the highest number of voters is London with 7 472 followed by Canberra (Australia) with 1 235, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) with 900, Wellington (New Zealand) with 410, The Hague (The Netherlands) with 378 and Dublin (Ireland) with 360.

Voting stations with the lowest number of voters are Asmara (Eritrea), Suva (Fiji), Ramallah (Palestine), Bujumbura (Burundi) and Trinidad and Tobago (Port of Spain) with only one voter each.

The IEC said of the applications approved, 1 601 South Africans will vote at the office of the Presiding Officer in their voting district on 20 or 21 April before they leave South Africa.