The Independent Electoral Commission presented its Strategic Plan for the period from 2011/12 to 2015/16 and its Annual Performance Plan for the year 2012/13. In line with the vision, mission, organisational values and legislative mandate of the Independent Electoral Commission, the process of the drafting of the strategic plan was outlined. Of prime importance was the fact that the strategic plan formed the basis of the Independent Electoral Commission’s annual report and led to the establishment of procedures for quarterly reporting to the executive authority to facilitate performance, monitoring, evaluation and corrective action.
The Independent Electoral Commission briefed the Committee on its five strategic goals which were to; promote principles of peaceful, free and fair elections; improve organisational efficiency and effectiveness; manage free and fair elections; strengthen electoral democracy through education for public participation; and support the core business of the Independent Electoral Commission. These strategic goals were further explained in the light of strategic objectives, performance indicators and quarterly targets.
The Independent Electoral Commission presented its plans to improve international stakeholder interactions. In terms or relations with political parties, the Independent Electoral Commission had plans to hold a total of 1 234 meetings with members of party liaison committees with 10 meetings at national level, 54 at provincial level and 1 170 at municipal level. The budget of the Independent Electoral Commission was presented in terms of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework period 2012/13. The budget was outlined with particular regard to the specific strategic goals of the Independent Electoral Commission. The total amount for 2012/13 was set at R770 941 000.
Members' concerns included the international interactions of the Independent Electoral Commission, the balancing of the political affiliations of presiding officers during elections, the conducting of elections abroad, the pending legal issues resulting from elections and the possibility of the running of a joint national and municipal election by 2014.
The general sentiment expressed by Members was that of satisfaction towards the operation and performance of the Electoral Commission. The increasingly applauded reputation of the Independent Electoral Commission both nationally and internationally was recognised. The new commissioners of the Independent Electoral Commission and the new Chief Electoral Officer were congratulated.
Introduction by Chairperson
The Acting Chairperson welcoming delegates and Members and noted apologies on behalf of the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission who was unavoidably absent due to engagements in Gambia.
IEC Strategic Plan 2011/12 – 2015/16 and Annual Performance Plan 2012/13 Presentation
Mr Mosotho Moepya, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), IEC, presented the Strategic Plan for 2011/12 – 2015/16. The vision of the IEC was stated to be to strengthen constitutional democracy through the delivery of free and fair elections in which every voter was able to record his or her informed choice. The IEC’s mission was to be an independent and impartial permanent body created by the Constitution to promote and strengthen constitutional democracy in
The Strategic Plan of the IEC was drafted in terms of the Framework for Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans and was presented to and adopted by the Commission. In developing the Strategic plan, the IEC followed a due consultative process. The strategic plan covered a period of five years and included an annual performance plan. The strategic plan also included the strategic goals, measurable objectives, performance indicators and targets of the Commission’s programmes. The strategic plan that covered the budget in respect of the strategic goals formed the basis for the annual report of the IEC. The IEC had plans to establish procedures for quarterly reporting to the executive authority to facilitate effective performance monitoring, evaluation and corrective action.
The strategic goals of the IEC included:
⚫To promote principles of peaceful, free and fair elections;
⚫To improve organisational efficiency and effectiveness;
⚫To manage free and fair elections;
⚫To strengthen electoral democracy through education for public participation; and
⚫To support the core business of the Electoral Commission.
The first strategic goal of promoting the principles of peaceful, free and fair elections had the strategic objectives of promoting knowledge of and adherence to democratic electoral principles nationally and positioning the IEC as a continuously improving organisation through on-going interaction and liaison with relevant international stakeholders. The performance indicators and targets of this objective ranged from quarterly meetings and interactions with the relevant stakeholders. The annual target for 2012/13 was set at 25 meetings and 12 interactions.
The strategic objectives related to improving organisational efficiency and effectiveness, which was the second strategic goal, included the following; ensuring the implementation of the Electoral Commission’s strategic goals and objectives, aligned with the corresponding budget allocation; assurance and value adding oversight; and ensuring compliance with all legal obligations and the management of risks emanating from or anticipated in respect of all programmes. In this regard, the performance indicators and targets for 2013 included the submission of four quarterly reports, one annual report, one annual risk-based internal audit plan and four quarterly progress reports submitted to the Audit Committee. An embedded process was said to be in place to develop and adopt a consolidated process for monitoring legal compliance by the end of the 2012/13 financial year. The plan was to implement and maintain the consolidated process during the remaining two years. Four quarterly review and update reports of the organisation's strategic risk register were to be submitted.
The third strategic goal of managing free and fair elections had the strategic objectives of facilitating voter participation; administration of political parties; administration of the elections of representatives; defining, specifying and procuring election material and equipment for all electoral events; and establishing infrastructure and personnel to meet the operational demands for each electoral event. The first performance indicator and target was 12 quarterly reports on the frequency that the voters’ roll was checked against the national population register for an up-to-date and accurate voters roll. The second performance indicator and target was to hold 1 234 quarterly meetings with members of party liaison committees. This included 10 meetings at national level, 54 meetings at provincial level and 1 170 meetings at municipal level. The funding of political parties was also an indicator with a number of four quarterly disbursements to parties. The other performance indicators and targets included 100 quarterly reports on the percentage of elections for which the voters roll was certified in accordance with election timetables; 90 quarterly reports on the number of calendar days in which elections were conducted from date of vacancy; 35 quarterly reports on the number of calendar days in which to replace proportionally represented seat vacancies; and 7 quarterly reports on the time period in calendar days in which election results were announced by the Electoral Commission. Some targets that were already fully achieved included the defining of the bill of material and specifications and sourced bill of material in terms the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (No. 5 of 2000), Treasury Regulations, and organisational policies and within the timelines stipulated in the logistics procurement plan.
The fourth strategic goal of strengthening electoral democracy through education for public participation had three strategic objectives, which included: educating the public on democracy and electoral processes; positioning the IEC as a knowledge and research-driven organisation on electoral democracy; and communicating electoral processes to the public. The performance indicators and targets were the organisation of 992 quarterly voter education events, 50 quarterly education projects with strategic partners. The IEC planned on disseminating 2 million education material quarterly. Other indicators and targets included the conducting of three quarterly research projects and the implementation of a system to design and implement a knowledge management strategy and system. This system implementation was in accordance with the timelines set in the strategy documentation. Regarding the number of targeted media interactions per annum, the IEC planned on making 24 media releases, 25 media interviews, and 12 media analysis reports. On the number of external publications per annum, the IEC planned on publishing one annual report. The IEC planned on increasing its targeted communication platforms to six, namely; radio, print, digital/online, Facebook, Twitter, and mobile.
The fifth strategic goal of supporting the core business of the electoral commission had the strategic objectives to:
⚫Improve the human resource strategy and plan;
⚫Develop, adopt, implement and maintain the human resources training skills and development plan;
⚫Provide integrated support services;
⚫Fund projects aligned with IEC strategy;
⚫Comply with financial legislation, policies and procedures;
⚫Fairly present financial statements;
⚫Develop an information technology strategy, policy and procedure and maintain a stable information technology environment; and
⚫Maintain a proactive and responsive legal framework for the IEC.
In terms of the performance indicators and targets, the target date by which a comprehensive human resources (HR) strategy and plan was to be approved was set for 30 June 2012 and the implementation date was set for 31 March 2013. The HR strategy and plan was to be reviewed annually and was to be done in consultation with all stakeholders. An integrated training strategy and plan by target dates was developed to be approved by 30 June 2012 and to be implemented by the timeframes of 31 March 2013. Target numbers of 1 920 trained electoral officials and 450 staff trained and developed was to be met by 2013. The date by which the comprehensive support services strategy and plan was to be approved was set for 30 June 2012 and the implementation date was set for 31 March 2013. The IEC had met the statutory deadlines in respect of budgeting as per National Treasury guidelines. The financial policies and procedures, including delegation of authority had been reviewed by the IEC. In this regard, 12 monthly compliance reports was the target to be met by the IEC.
Mr Moepya said that the IEC had the target to achieve an unqualified audit report each year. This target had so far been met. The IEC planned to have its Five-year Information and Communication Technology strategy plan in place with annual reviews. The approved plan was intended to be in place by 31 March 2013. On the annual legal review report, the target was to have the legal review report submitted by 31 March 2013.
The IEC budget was presented in terms of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period 2012/13. The budget was outlined with particular regard to the specific strategic goals of the IEC. The total amount for 2012/13 was set at R770 941 000. The budget for this year was low because there were no general elections. This meant that the period 2013/14 would experience an increase in the budget.
Mr Terry Tselane, Deputy Chairperson, IEC, emphasised that the IEC was looking at possibilities of reorganising its strategy so as to meet present day challenges. In this reorganisation, the international dimension to the work of the Commission was taken into consideration. The need to ensure the maximum impact of the programmes of the IEC was also taken into consideration. The previously experienced weaknesses and challenges were also considered in the new vision of the IEC. Mr Tselane noted that innovations such as electronic voting informed the new vision.
Mr M de Freitas (DA) applauded the IEC for the very brilliant performance so far. The IEC had maintained very professional standards and had gained respect on the African continent and internationally.
Mr De Freitas asked what the IEC was doing about the challenge faced on election days where some of the part-time staff and delegates of the IEC were not very well skilled or trained and lacked the necessary understanding of the legislation and procedures.
Mr Tselane replied that the IEC had identified the training of staff as a key concern and a high-risk issue. The integrity of the organisation and the quality of leadership was greatly determined by the local staff and presiding officers designated by the IEC to voting stations during elections. The IEC was considering semi-permanent presiding officer structures that would greatly reduce the skills and training challenge at local level.
Mr De Freitas asked what the IEC’s position was with regards to elections abroad. He noted that it was important for South Africans living abroad to be able to vote. How did the IEC accommodate voting abroad? The information on the voters’ roll only indicated the name and ID number of the voter. He asked if the IEC was considering including other details such as address and telephone numbers.
In terms of elections abroad, Mr Tselane replied that the IEC was currently utilizing embassies and High Commissions for voting purposes. However, the IEC had set up a task team to investigate into the possibility of improving the entire concept of elections abroad.
Mr Moepya said that in terms of elections abroad, there were certain legislative amendments that need to be made and in that regard, Parliament had to make its pronouncements. On including addresses and telephone numbers in the voters’ roll, the IEC was guided by Section 16 (3) of the Electoral Act.
Mr Tselane said that on the proposal of including addresses and telephone numbers on the voters roll, the IEC was going to make that available. He however cautioned that there were a lot of people in the country who do not have addresses, so there could implications for those who did not have addresses.
Mr De Freitas asked to whom did the IEC submit the quarterly reports mentioned in the presentation. What kind of research projects had the IEC conducted?
Mr Moepya replied that the quarterly reports were submitted to the Commissioners, National Treasury and the internal audit committee and the quarterly risk review process. He said that If the Committee had any suggestions as to any other appropriate places where these reports could be submitted to, the IEC would duly comply.
Mr De Freitas asked what was the relation between the IEC and other electoral commissions in other countries in
Mr G Mcintosh (COPE) asked why in the strategic goals of the IEC no mention was made of international partnerships. He noted that relations with the BRICS (
On the international relations and partnerships of the IEC, Mr George Talliard, Commissioner, IEC, replied that the history of the international partnerships of the IEC had operated on an ad hoc basis where the Department of International Relations recommended that the IEC should be involved in a bilateral interaction in a different country. It had never been done on very formal basis such as the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding or other very specific steps. However, there was a new Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Department of International Relations with the objective of formalising these interactions. This was going to greatly improve the operations and performance of the IEC. He noted that the IEC might at a later stage approach the Committee to seek for more legal authority to do international interactions as this was going to not only help the other countries involved but also expose the IEC to greater growth opportunities.
Mr Tselane said that the IEC budget did not include the resources for international interactions. What previously happened was that the IEC entered into a relationship with the Department of International Relations wherein the IEC would be given countries on the continent where their interaction was needed. Money was thereafter allocated to finance these interactions. In the past, the resources from the African Engagement Fund were used to fund the IEC in operations such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The relationship between the IEC and the electoral commissions of the BRICS countries was improving. The identification of feasible projects and programs was underway. The IEC had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with
Ms G Bothman (ANC) asked why the strategic goals had only objectives, performance indicators and targets but did not include particular outcomes. Regarding voter education, what were the strategic projects that the IEC made reference to in the presentation?
Mr Moepya replied that the financial year 2011/12 which ended on the 31 March 2012 was going to be the first year where the strategic plan of the IEC was going to be audited. The IEC was going to go through its first performance audit this year and only then could practical outcome be communicated. These outcomes will therefore be in the subsequent presentations to the Committee.
Mr M Mnqasela (DA) asked to what extent did the IEC balance the political affiliations of presiding officers with the work they have to do during elections. How was this balancing monitored and guaranteed? What experience had the IEC gained by working with international stakeholders?
On the concern of the political affiliations of presiding officers, Mr Tselane replied that the names of nominated/appointed presiding officers were given to the various political parties through the party liaison committee (PLC) structures so that these parties could assist in the screening of these appointed officers. The feedback from the political parties was therefore very crucial in the retaining of these officers. If substantial reasons were given against a particular officer, the IEC was therefore going to reconsider the decision to appoint that individual. However, the IEC actually checked the names of the presiding officers against the names of the candidates from the various parties so as to ensure fairness during the election
Mr Tselane said that the IEC had learnt many things from international liaison. He said that the IEC had learnt positive things as well as how to avoid certain practices which had negative connotations. The IEC was not only learning from international best practices but was also serving as a pacesetter around the world. He gave the example of the invitation from the northern African countries such as
Mr Mnqasela asked if there were any pending legal cases or challenges in the courts that were raised from elections. He also asked why the presentation made reference to 2013 instead of 2012.
Mr Moepya replied that there were some pending legal matters relating to elections. These matter were outstanding not on the part of the IEC but because of the legal processes at the courts.
Ms T Gasebonwe (ANC) asked if the IEC systems were linked to those of the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that any changes in the status of citizens were automatically updated on the IEC system. If this was not the case, was the IEC considering linking up the systems so as to benefit from the advantages of automatic system updates.
On the question of the linking of systems between the IEC and the Department of Home Affairs, Mr Tselane replied that the IEC frequently updated its system so as to be up to date with the Home Affairs data. This updating was what the IEC used to refresh the voters’ roll.
Ms S Rwexana (COPE) asked clarity on the IEC’s position of electronic voting. The concern of foreign nationals voting and being voted was raised. How did foreign nationals become Members of Parliament and how did the IEC regulate or monitor this phenomenon? The fact that voting stations on election days were chaotic and disorderly was raised. Did the IEC not have rules and regulations to control the activities of political parties at voting stations and what measures did the IEC have to enforce the rules which require political parties to set their tents and tables at a particular distance away from the voting station.
Mr Tselane replied that the issue of electronic voting was still being explored by the IEC. The challenge was the accommodation of rural areas in the proposed electronic voting system.
Mr Moepya replied that the IEC checked through the lists that it was given to guarantee that all the candidates submitted the correct documentation and no fraudulent documents were submitted. This meant that any foreign nationals who voted or were voted for submitted the required and correct documentation. On the calm and order at voting stations, there were rules governing the parties and the experience was that in the mornings at the beginning of the elections, the atmosphere was always cordial and calm but when parties started to get ideas of the results, tension and disorder commenced.
The Acting Chairperson asked if it was logistically possible that by 2014 both national and municipal elections could be jointly conducted. He noted that although the political decision was not to be taken by the IEC, what was the position of the IEC on this subject.
On the possibility of running a joint election by 2014, Mr Tselane replied that the IEC had a team which was busy with research and explorations in that regard. He said that although the IEC was not in a position to make the comment, from his understanding of joint elections, it was going to be extremely difficult to run a joint election by 2014. However, he said that once the team that was tasked with research in that regard was through, the IEC would be able to speak with authority on the subject.
In a follow up remark, Mr Mnqasela said that the practical experience around the political affiliation of presiding officers was really a great challenge and he urged the IEC to ensure that the appointments were not only balanced but were also monitored frequently.
The Acting Chairperson applauded the work of the IEC and requested that the IEC should provide more information to the Committee on their involvement with international interactions.
The meeting was adjourned.
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.