statement by Deputy-National Secretary
With 72 hours left to put in place the organisational machinery for registration, the situation can only be described as chaotic. Not only are there serious questions about the impartiality of using state officials to run the registration, but it is also obvious that there are not enough officials willing to do the job. Training for these yet “non existing” officials must still take place. When will this happen and how does the IEC expect to fit it in the remaining timeframe?
Free and fair elections are not determined on the day of elections only. The accessibility, level of understanding and the perception on the legitimacy of the process already determines whether the elections can be declared free and fair.
Confusion reigns within the mind of the voter public. Voters have no idea where they should go and register. Giving publicity to the 14 000 plus registration points to such an extend that it is general public knowledge takes more than a mere day or two. Voter despondency with the upcoming elections becomes understandable in this atmosphere of uncertainty and ill organisation. We can not expect the voter to have trust in the democratic process if the basics are not right or put in place. This, are not the responsibility of political parties, but ultimately the responsibility of the IEC and government in providing the necessary funding for this exercise.
Political parties must and should do everything in their power to ensure that its supporters register. This is true, but it becomes an exercise in futility if the infrastructure and logistics are not in place. The IEC’s handling of the registration process gives new meaning to the saying “hurry up and wait” and “all dressed up but nowhere to go!”.