SAHRC gives 2024 elections the thumbs up

SAHRC gives 2024 elections the thumbs up

SAHRC gives 2024 elections the thumbs up

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has endorsed the 2024 National and Provincial Elections as having been free and fair.
“The South African Human Rights Commission endorses the 2024 National General Elections as free and fair,” the commission said on Sunday.
The commission’s comments come as the Electoral Commission (IEC) is set to announce the results of the elections this evening at 6pm. South Africans went to the polls in the seventh national elections on Wednesday, 29 May.
The SAHRC observed the elections from 27- 29 May 2024.
During this period, the commission observed 161 voting stations and gathered 98 reflections from human rights officials and champions, resulting in a significant national footprint across 259 voting stations.
Reflections
“Our preliminary observations revealed that operationally, 83% of voting stations observed opened on time, and 98% of ballot boxes were assembled in the presence of party agents and observers, although some party agents arrived late.”
In its preliminary reflections, the commission said that 95% of stations had all essential materials, including ballot papers and pens.
It said that most voters took more than 30 minutes to complete their voting process; 16% took two hours or longer, 46% took 30-90 minutes, and 38% took less than 10 minutes.
“We observed that 70% of voting stations experienced connectivity issues. In terms of accessibility, 83% of people with disabilities were able to vote independently, though only 40 stations scored a 10/10 for accessibility.
“Furthermore, 87% of polling stations had measures in place for the elderly, pregnant persons, and other special categories. Security incidents were minimal; no significant issues were observed and minor issues such as inebriated voters, raised tempers, or party agent interference were promptly addressed by SAPS [South African Police Service].”
The SAHRC added that it was aware that the elections “do not occur without minor glitches”.
“Some voting centres experienced slow-moving queues extending into the early hours of the following day, and some voters were turned away, unable to exercise their democratic right due to administrative challenges of registration.
“In some areas voters could not cast their vote due to strike. The Electoral Commission also reported a missing ballot box in Umhlathuze Ward 14, KwaZulu-Natal, which fortunately had already been counted.”
“Our preliminary concerns include the adverse impact of the three-ballot process on turnaround time, the lack of understanding and proper implementation of the Section 24A process, and the lack of uniformity in certain processes, with some stations using one ballot box for mixed votes and others using three separate boxes.”
It further added that accessibility for people with disabilities remains a challenge, privacy in voting booths was a concern, and connectivity issues required officials to alternate between online and manual systems.
“Overall, the Commission observed that the elections proceeded smoothly, without major concerns. The minor challenges monitored do not impact the overall declaration of the elections as free and fair. The SAHRC is further committed to producing a comprehensive final report that reflects the full extent of its observations during the 2024 general elections.”
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The commission expressed gratitude to South Africans who participated in large numbers to exercise their democratic right to vote.
“We remain committed to ensuring that the civil and political rights of all participants are upheld throughout the electoral process,” it said. – SAnews.gov.za

Neo
Sun, 06/02/2024 – 16:17

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