School kids visit IEC centre

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pretoria - The Independent Electoral Commission's (IEC) Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Pretoria was abuzz on Friday morning, not only with politicians but with school kids.

Learners from the Pretoria West High School visited the center; two days after South Africans took to the polling station, to get a glimpse at the process of capturing and validating results.

They were being briefed about the country's electoral laws, procedures and management of resources.

Curiosity could be seen in the eyes of the learners at some of the broadcasting equipment at the centre. Some were even excited to see the political leaders, who have been familiar on their TV screens over the months leading to the elections.

The learners, mostly 16-year-olds, also took and posed for pictures with some politicians with their mobile phones while they were wowed by familiar TV presenters, like Morning Live's hosts Lee-Ann Mannas and Vuyo Mbuli.

Some officials, like African National Congress's (ANC) Gwede Mantashe took them through how the party were doing throughout the country while sharing a light moment with them.

Dimakatso Raphotsi a Grade 10 learner said the centre was busier than she had imagined. "It's quite huge and busy."

Another learner was happy to get a glimpse of how processes went. "I'm overwhelmed to see the fruits of our democracy in action...other countries don't have this."

Representatives from smaller parties continued monitoring their screen with the incoming results, rather than making small talk with the learners.

By 10 am, the national board indicated that the APC and ACDP were among the lowest performers, with 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.

Other smaller parties got an overall of 1.8 percent and controlled two councils at the national level. The independents had 1.1 percent support and 44 seats but controlled no councils.

At the top, the two-horse race between the ANC and the Democratic Alliance (DA) continues. The ANC was standing at 61.8 percent with166 councils and 4 831 seats under its belt. The DA was at 24.2 percent, 17 councils and 1 286 seats.

At the third spot was the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) with 3.6 percent and controlled five councils, followed by the National Freedom Party (NFP) with 2.3 percent of the votes controlling two councils. Embattled Congress of the People (COPE) came in fifth with 2.2 percent and 193 seats.

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