Planact’s Election Observer Mission ready

May 28, 2024 | Blog, Latest Updates

In preparation for the 2024 National and Provincial Elections (NPE), Planact conducted intense trainings for its Observer Mission participants based in Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces. These took place on the 9th and 14th of May 2024. This follows Planact’s accreditation on the 5th of February 2024 to observe the 2024 NPE by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

Planact has increased its Observer Mission by almost 100 percent from 25 individuals during 2021 Local Government elections to 48 observers. The observers are spread throughout the three metropolitan municipalities in Gauteng and Emalahleni Local Municipality and Steve Tshwete Local Municipality in Mpumalanga. The trainings were conducted by IEC officials. The primary objective entailed ensuring that the Planact Observer Mission had a clear understanding of what is expected from an observer according to the Code of Conduct for observers.

Among other important aspects were the changes in the NPE which were brought about by the recent electoral law amendment. This includes the participation of independent candidates at NEP for the first time since the democratic dispensation.

The training looked at the important aspect to observe contained in section 37-57 of the Electoral Act, 73 of 1998. The training also touched on the introduction of section 24A, which requires that a voter should apply in terms of this section of the law should they wish to vote at a voting station other than the one where they originally registered. The officials explained how the three ballot papers work. The trainers made it clear that the only person that an observer is allowed to engage with at a voting station was the presiding officer.

Most importantly, the observers were thoroughly taken through the Code of Conduct for Accredited Observer contained in the Regulations on the Accreditation of Observers, 1999. The vast majority of the Planact Observer Mission consists of representatives from informal settlement communities. These communities are strategic partners and have organised themselves into clusters with the respective municipalities. The participation in the elections in this form is aimed at empowering the communities to get involved in different aspects of democratic participation and governance.

Observing elections affords communities and Planact an opportunity to play a role and form an opinion on the credibility or lack thereof in the outcome of voting.