Monday, April 11, 2011

Municipal poll to cost R1.2bn

Apr 10, 2011 

The May 18 municipal election will cost R1.2-billion.

Independent Electoral Commission CEO Pansy Tlakula told the Sunday Times last week that there had been an increase of nearly 20000 in the number of candidates.
In 2006, the commission registered 36000 municipal candidates around the country. This year, the number has shot up to 55000.
Tlakula said a huge amount would be spent to ensure a seamless election.
"It's a lot of money. We don't have a budget that is set aside for the elections. It's a budget for the financial year, the bulk of the preparations took place in the last financial year and the election will take place in this financial year. 

"We're talking about maybe R1.2-billion," said Tlakula. 

The commission chief said most of the money was used to improve security features of the ballot paper, to prevent electoral fraud, and on contingency planning. 

Unlike in previous elections, it would not be possible for anyone to duplicate ballot papers.
"We have adequate security arrangements for that. The ballot papers have security features. They cannot be photocopied. That's a new feature. In the past, we haven't had a ballot paper with security features for a local government election." 

Tlakula said the IEC had made provision for bad weather, as predicted by the National Weather Service, during the polls. There were indications that there would be torrential rain in most parts of the country. 

"We have to foresee almost everything and have contingency plans for almost everything, not only the weather. 

"There are people trained whom we have appointed as electoral staff but who might not be available on May 18. They might have a death in their family. They themselves might be deceased at that time, so we have to have contingency plans to replace them at very short notice." 

The electoral commission will begin sifting through all the election candidates tomorrow to weed out those who do not meet the criteria or whose credentials have not been accepted .
There are 55684 hopefuls linked to political parties or standing as private candidates, all hoping that the commission endorses them. 

"I think what is outstanding is the ballot paper. We'll only print the ballot paper after we have confirmed the list of candidates. We will do that on Tuesday," Tlakula said. 

"On Wednesday, we will have a ceremony at Gallagher Estate, where political parties contesting two or more provinces will sign the code of conduct. At that event, we'll also do the ballot-paper draw. Whoever is drawn, their name will be the first on the ballot paper." 

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