ED­I­TO­RIAL

The New Age (Western Cape) - - Comment -

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.

PICTURE: REUTERS

BREAK­THROUGH: A man shares his joy with his young daugh­ter as Pales­tini­ans cel­e­brate af­ter Ha­mas said yes­ter­day it had signed a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion deal with its ri­val, Fatah, in Cairo end­ing a decade-long rift be­tween the two Pales­tinian fac­tions.

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