IEC relocates to Results Operation Centre

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pretoria - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will relocate from their offices at Election House in Sunnyside, to the Results Operation Centre (ROC) at the Tshwane Events Centre ahead of the General Elections.

Speaking at the opening of the ROC on Wednesday, IEC Chief Electoral Officer, Adv Pansy Tlakula said they will remain at the Centre until the final results of the elections are announced.

"For the next few days, until the final results are announced, as the IEC, we will relocate from our offices to the Results Operation Centre.

"Over that period, the ROC becomes the central point from which all election-related activities throughout the country is coordinated," she said.

The ROC has become an important feature of the elections that are managed by the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa.

At the national ROC, thousands of square metres of empty flooring have been transformed in just three weeks into a world-class technology centre.

Some of the features of the Centre include 450 computer workstations, 300 telephone units; 22km of data, fibre and telephone cabling; more than 1 000 electricity power points and more than 200 high powered lights.

Over 44 000 carpet tiles were laid, 2km of network cabling was installed, 122 offices were built, five television and seven radio studios have been built to enable live broadcasting from the Centre.

Several media representatives including radio stations, TV broadcasters and newspaper organisations, as well as the 26 political parties contesting the national elections, have been given offices to operate from in the run-up to the elections and immediately afterwards.

The offices are equipped with computers and phones to enable parties to keep in touch with their agents on the field.

The IEC will also operate a call centre that provides callers with information regarding registration status, voting location as well as election results.

Adv Tlakula said the ROC is another way in which the Commission seeks to enhance the transparency of the election process.

"For the results of the election to be accepted, we have learnt that it is not enough just to conduct the election impartially. All the steps in the electoral process must be seen to be fair.

"The ballot is secret, but everything else about election should be in full view," she said.

She said the best systems mean nothing if the elections' management body responsible for the election is not credible.

IEC Chairperson, Dr Brigalia Bam said the opening of the Centre was significant in the running of elections as it formally underscores the ability of the IEC to deliver on its mandate of running free and fair elections and nurturing the electoral and constitutional democracy in South Africa.

"We view this unique Centre as a hub of social cohesion or nerve centre wherein all role-players assemble at each national election so as to collaborate in this important national project on elections," she said.

The IEC established the first Centre for the 1999 elections focusing on management and results activities.

The transparency that prevailed made the Centre an integral part of the election results management process which political parties and the media have come to expect and use as a benchmark to inform themselves about their accuracy and transparency.

"It is against this background that the ROC will remain an unwritten feature of the results management system," the IEC said.