SOUTH Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has developed a formidable reputation since 1994 for the hosting of free, fair and credible elections.
As a consequence of this reputation and expertise, the IEC is also a leader globally and on the continent in the field of electoral matters. However, along this road the organisation has taken a few knocks, including a procurement scandal involving former chairperson Pansy Tlakula and a 2016 Constitutional Court judgment that found a slew of shortcomings in the national voters roll.
Newly appointed chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo takes the reins of the electoral body against this background. His immediate task is to meet the 2018 deadline set by the ConCourt to rectify the deficiencies in the voters roll. As the country’s political climate becomes even more toxic ahead of the 2019 national and provincial elections, Mamabolo will be put under severe pressure by political parties to demonstrate the independence of the IEC.
Fortunately for the electoral body, Mamabolo comes from within its ranks and has a deep understanding of its operations and challenges. His more than 20 years experience will come in handy as he gets one of most respected Chapter 9 institutions ready for the battles ahead. For Mamabolo to succeed in his vital tasks, it is critical his relationship with his commissioners are clearly defined and harmonious.
Despite some of the recent hiccups, the IEC’s integrity is still very much intact.
Ahead of the 2019 polls, the political temperature will hit fever-pitch. Mamabolo will have his hands full and will need to act without fear or favour. Given his vast experience, we have no doubt he will deliver and take the IEC to greater heights.
We wish him success in his new role.
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