Analysis

IEC Flouts Almost Every Rule In The Book

By Sam Ditshego

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) suggested that political parties should pay an amount of R605,000 for next year’s elections and has asked the public for comments.

My comment is that since the IEC pays out political parties proportionally, they should also charge the same political parties proportionally for taking part in elections. It’s so simple. It’s common sense. Common sense is not common in the IEC. How do they run elections when they lack common sense?

The PAC always receives around R300,000 from the IEC. In the last local government elections, the ANC received R79m; the DA R28m and EFF R10m. How does the IEC now expect to charge the PAC R605,000 which is twice what the IEC allocated to the PAC in the last elections?

When organisations spend money for election material such as posters, advertisements, transport etc., they are not charged proportionally. They spend the same amount of money the organisations that received millions of rands from the IEC spend. During elections the PAC must cater for party agents in nine provinces and R300,000 can’t even cover one region such as the West Rand, for example.

IEC officials are silly. What public comments do they want? They have the answers.

TOO MANY LOOPHOLES IN SA’S ELECTORAL SYSTEM

There are many loopholes in South Africa’s electoral system which the IEC is just too happy to ignore.

  1. After voting and counting at different voting stations, party agents sign result slips. Then the Presiding Officer leaves alone accompanied only by SAPS and Metro Police to the regional IEC office. The regional IEC office manually feeds those results into the IEC headquarters in Pretoria.

Why not feed those results directly to the IEC headquarters from voting stations to avoid rigging?

  1. The aphorism, ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ holds water. The ANC government funds the IEC, have the last say as to who is appointed as IEC office bearers and therefore calls the shots.
  2. The funding for political parties is skewed in favour of the ruling party and the official opposition.
  3. Opposition political parties have no say as to the printing of ballot papers, their format and number. Ballot papers should be serialised; no extra ballot papers should be printed and all ballot papers printed must be accounted for.
  4. Special votes are a mess and leaves room for rigging. According to Special Votes rules, only those who applied to cast special votes should be allowed to do so but not those who have not applied. However, in South Africa every old person who shows up is allowed to vote.
  5. Who supplies IEC computers and its software? These must be examined by all opposition political parties and their computer experts and IT specialists to ascertain that they are not programmed to reflect results favourable to the ruling party which in essence controls the IEC.

These measures are not optional but obligatory. Conducting elections is not and should not be the exclusive prerogative of the ANC and IEC.

HOW RELIABLE ARE SURVEYS AND OPINION POLLS?

Elections and electioneering involve manipulation and gimmicks. There is also chicanery and gerrymandering.

Passive electioneering is the act of wearing campaign paraphernalia or carrying signs to a polling place with the intent of influencing voters. In many countries passive electioneering is forbidden by law.

In backward South Africa – which prides itself as having the “best constitution in the world” – passive electioneering is allowed. Canvassing at polling stations, especially by the ruling party, is also allowed.

I have already discussed skewed funding and election loopholes. In this post, I propose to address surveys and opinion polls as part of electioneering and conclude with a comment on hacking.

There is a survey purported to have been conducted on three “major political parties” in South Africa. What was the survey’s rationale for conducting a sample only on those three political parties? It is also important to know what questions were asked and how they were framed for the survey to be taken seriously. Who conducted the survey and who paid for it? Almost invariably, organisations that conduct surveys do so in a way that provides answers they are looking for. And they always get the answers they want.

The main objective of surveys and opinion polls is to influence elections outcomes. They are not surveying or seeking the respondents’ opinions but injecting in the minds of unsuspecting victims the surveyors’ and opinion pollsters’ opinions of their manipulation thus spreading their views across society.

For example, if surveyors and opinion pollsters phone a naive person and ask them which among the three “major political parties” they are going to vote for and name those three “major political parties”. They are subliminally informing that naive person to choose from among those three political parties. By the same token, if they report the results of those bogus results on television, radio and publish them in newspapers, they are subliminally influencing voters to choose from among those three “major political parties”.

The proper way of seeking opinions of voters is to ask them which political party or parties they are going to vote for and wait for a response. This also allows them to gauge the level of information or political consciousness the respondent has. Perhaps the follow up question would be to ask them the reasons for their preference. If political parties are going to be mentioned then all of them must be mentioned so that the responded should respond from an informed position.

If opinion pollsters want genuine results for their opinion polls, they must get a sample of people of whatever number they want. Take them to one place where they have no access to the media. Inform them of what all the political parties stand for. Thereafter ask them separately without influencing each other which political party or parties they are going to vote for. This is a legitimate survey or opinion poll.

The media is also guilty of manipulating voters by their frequent and repeated coverage of those “three major political parties”. There is speculation in the media that the elections might take place in May next year. Yet the same media, as required by convention and tradition, have not covered the PAC and Azapo or other BC formations.

The majority of the people of this country do not know what these organisations stand for. The only time the media report about these organisations it is when they report about the in-fighting in the PAC; when they tried to hijack Mama Zondeni Sobukwe’s funeral service and on the occasion of the commemoration of Steve Biko’s death.

Finally, US officials are adamant the Russian government hacked US computers to help Trump win elections. The validity of these allegations have not been established or disproved. It is also not clear if these allegations are far-fetched. What is certain though is that hacking of computers to give an urge to one or the other political party (or parties) is real.

How are we sure this hacking is not happening in South Africa’s elections to give an urge to the political parties that the surveys and opinion polls claim are “major political parties” and disadvantage the PAC and Black Consciousness formations? Why is South Africa’s main opposition a predominantly white political party something that never happened in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola? Where were these white people when we were fighting against the white supremacist government they propped up during the apartheid era? And who and what are they opposing and on whose behalf?

This country’s dubious electoral system and the many inexplicable occurrences are the result of the secret talks the ANC held with former apartheid government officials and captains of industry. They must be dismantled because they are unsustainable and impact negatively on the indigenous people.

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