TODAY marks a special day for the Electoral Commission of South Africa – the 20th anniversary of its founding.
On this day in 1997 our first democratically elected president Nelson Mandela, appointed the first commissioners following public nominations and an interview process prescribed by the constitution.
The commissioners were Justice Johann Kriegler (chairperson), Dr Brigalia Bam (vice-chairperson) and Thoko Mpumlwana, Professor Herbert Vilakazi and Fanie van der Merwe.
The commission appointed Professor Mandla Mchunu as chief electoral officer to build the administration and lay the foundations of the organisation we know and love today.
The task of creating a permanent, professional electoral management body was not easy and was made more challenging by the looming national and provincial elections less than two years down the line. In a short space of time the IEC needed to build a national common voters’ roll and put in place people, systems, processes and policies to deliver a free, fair and credible election in 1999. A year later it would be called upon to conduct the first municipal elections.
Today it takes us the best part of between 18 months and two years to plan