Tlakula casts her vote, says IEC is ready for Wednesday

Monday, May 5, 2014

Johannesburg - With the 2014 general election drawing nearer, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson has assured that her team will deliver professionally run elections.

“We will not disappoint. Like we have been doing over the years, my team is ready and will deliver another credible, free, fair and professionally run elections,” IEC  chairperson Pansy Tlakula said after casting her special vote at the Orange Grove Primary School in Sydenham, just after 10am on Monday.

From today until tomorrow, those who cannot get to the polls on Wednesday will cast their "special votes", which is open to everyone who applied to cast a special vote.

According to IEC figures, close to 400 000 people have been approved to vote during the special voting window.

Logistics, according to Tlakula, are in place, as election officials will visit tens of thousands voters in their homes, retirement centres and hospitals.

“The IEC is in full electoral mode. From our side, it is all system go,” she said.

There are two categories of special votes - home visits and special voting at a registered voting station.

For a home visit, election officials will visit voters who had successfully applied due to physical infirmity, disability, or pregnancy. Special voting at a registered voting station is for people who will not be in their voting district on Election Day. The stations will be opened between 9am and 5pm on both days.

Tlakula said as the election management body, the IEC was in constant communication with law enforcement bodies.

“We are working with law enforcement agencies and they have assured us that the environment is conducive to a free and fair election,” she said, adding that any acts of intimidation needed to be reported to the police.

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) on Sunday warned that security forces will not hesitate to arrest those believed to have committed election-related crimes.

To date, police have arrested 63 people in 84 reported cases. They were arrested for alleged public violence, intimidation, common assault, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property and contravening sections of the Electoral Act.

Meanwhile, Tlakula said official campaigning will only end at midnight on Tuesday.

“The law says no political event or march should take place on election day. Special voting day is not an election day. So, strictly speaking, in terms of the law, campaigning will continue until midnight tomorrow (Tuesday),” she said.

This is the country’s fifth general election since democracy. This year’s election holds a special significance for South Africans, as the year marks the celebration of 20 Years of Freedom since the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994. –

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