Pretoria- Government on Sunday commended South Africans for the role they played in making the 2016 local government elections a resounding success.
“Government commends all South Africans for the part they have played in making the 2016 Municipal Elections a resounding success,” the Inter Ministerial Committee on elections said.
Briefing reporters a day after the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) declared the local elections as free and fair Chairperson of the IMC and Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen said the IMC is encouraged by the elections.
“The elections have signalled another commitment by government to continue speeding up efforts to ensure both the quantity and quality of services provided to communities.
It is important to view this against the magnitude of the need for services and existing backlogs, as well as the pressures due to population and economic growth,” he said at a media briefing in Pretoria.
The IMC—which was tasked with providing overall leadership, coordination and planning of the elections—said the elections were contested in a spirit of political maturity and tolerance.
The elections which saw South Africans queuing to vote proved beyond doubt that democracy is resilient and strong, noted the IMC.
The IEC was commended for successfully managing the elections in a transparent, diligent and exemplary fashion with minimal negative incidents.
‘We are satisfied that the IEC has built on its reputation of holding successful and credible elections,” said the IMC which also thanked party agents as well as local and international observer missions who monitored the electoral process.
When coming to security measures around the elections, the National Joints Operational and Intelligence Structure along with the Provincial Joint Operational Centres in each province were used.
“This meticulous operational planning culminated in boots on the ground at every voting station, as well as specific deployments in known hotspots. South African Police Service (SAPS) members performed static protection duties at all voting stations,” explained Minister Van Rooyen.
The police also assisted in escorting voting material and IEC personnel while known hotspots were patrolled and regular duties such as investigating reported offences also took place.
At the same reaction teams comprising members of the SAPS’s most elite and highly trained units were active in various parts of the country in addition to the over 2000 South African National Defence Force members on standby.
Collection of IDs
The IMC thanked the Department of Home Affairs for opening their doors to the public from 7 am to 7pm on voting day so that people could collect their IDs in order to vote.
From 30 July to 3 August, 66 304 enabling documents in the form of either Temporary Identity certificates (TICs), Green ID books or Smart ID cards for voting were collected from Home Affairs offices across the country.
On election day, 6 880 TICs were collected, along with 2 344 Green ID books and 7 048 Smart ID cards.
“This role became even more urgent when due to unforeseen natural disasters, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, many South Africans had lost their documentation necessary to participate in the elections,” explained the Minister.
With regards to the challenges in Vuwani, Limpopo which saw over 26 schools torched and damaged, President Zuma established an IMC which has since worked with all role-players and stakeholders to find a lasting solution.
This dialogue led to the signing of an agreement on 28 July 2016. According to Minister Van Rooyen this will go a long way in bringing normalcy to the area.
“As government, we want to emphasise that we remain committed to continue with dialogue and discussions geared to finding a lasting solution,” said the Minister. –SAnews.gov.za