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IEC Declares 2024 Elections Free and Fair Amidst Legal Challenges

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IEC Declares 2024 Elections Free and Fair Amidst Legal Challenges

By Mpho Moloi – IEC Declares 2024 Elections Free and Fair

MIDRAND – The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has officially declared the 2024 National and Provincial Elections free and fair on Sunday. This announcement was made during the Final Results Announcement Ceremony, held at the National Results Operations Centre at Gallagher Estate in Midrand .

Amidst a backdrop of political tension, the IEC’s declaration comes as a reaffirmation of South Africa’s robust democratic processes. The South African Human Rights Commission has also endorsed the elections, stating that they were conducted in a free and fair manner.

Legal Hurdles and Political Tensions

Despite the IEC’s assurances, not all political parties have been as quick to accept the results. Over 20 political parties dispatched their legal teams to the National Results Operations Centre to contest the announcement. Among these were the Jacob Zuma’s MK Party,  African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Congress of the People (COPE), United Democratic Movement (UDM), and others. These parties cite various irregularities and have demanded thorough investigations before the final declaration of results.

Election Day: A Reflection on Democratic Strength

The ceremony, led by IEC Commissioner Dr. Nomsa Masuku, marked a significant moment for South Africa’s democratic journey. During her address, Dr. Masuku acknowledged the complexity and magnitude of the electoral process, and expressed optimism about the country’s democratic future.

“The 2024 elections were like no other before,” said Dr. Masuku. “They had unique features pointing to an ever-increasing political dynamism and operational complexity. Yet, we stand triumphant in ensuring a credible and fair electoral process.”

IEC Commissioner Nomsa Masuku
IEC Commissioner Nomsa Masuku

President Cyril Ramaphosa also attended the event, along with Deputy President Paul Mashatile, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, and various other dignitaries. The President commended the IEC’s efforts, stating, “We have held another successful election that has been free, fair, credible, and peaceful. This represents a victory for our democracy and for all the people of South Africa.”

He lauded the efforts of the IEC, South African police, Defence Forces, Home Affairs staff, and all citizens who took part in the electoral process. Highlighting the collective responsibility to uphold the democratic spirit, Ramaphosa affirmed, “Our people expect their leaders to work together to meet their needs. They expect the parties for which they have voted to find common ground to overcome their differences to act and work together for the good of everyone.”

##Election Day: A Reflection on Democratic Strength
President Cyril Ramaphosa

Election Insights

Chief Electoral Officer Mr. Sy Mamabolo provided a detailed account of the election process, noting the unique challenges and successes experienced. He highlighted the following:

– **Voter Confidence**: Surveys indicated high voter confidence in the electoral commission.

– **Special Voting**: 1.1 million voters utilized special voting provisions.

– **Transparency**: The process was marked by unprecedented levels of transparency and electoral integrity.

IEC Chairperson Mr Mosotho Moepya followed with remarks echoing national unity and democratic affirmation. He acknowledged the pivotal role played by South Africans across the board, from election staff to voters braving various challenges. “The 2024 National and provincial elections are all but concluded. This moment marks a pivotal juncture in our nation’s Democratic Journey,” he said, paying tribute to past sacrifices and underscoring the importance of ongoing democratic maturity.

##Election Day: A Reflection on Democratic Strength
IEC Chairperson Mr Mosotho Moepya

The Vice Chairperson of the IEC, Janet Love, concluded the ceremony by reaffirming the commission’s commitment to continuous improvement and the importance of civic engagement. “This is the time for all of us to put South Africa first,” she noted, appealing for ongoing vigilance and active participation from all sectors of society.

Voter Turnout and Results

The 2024 elections saw a voter turnout of 58.64%, with 23,292 voting districts reporting results. Here are the notable performances:

– **African National Congress (ANC)**: 40.18% votes, securing 6,459,683 votes.

– **Democratic Alliance (DA)**: 21.81% votes, achieving 3,505,735 votes.

– **Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)**: 9.52% votes, with 1,529,961 votes.

– **Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)**: 3.85% votes, receiving 618,207 votes.

Coalition Talks and Future Governance

As no single party secured a clear majority, coalition talks are inevitable. The DA and IFP have both expressed willingness to engage in discussions with other parties to form a stable government. However, both parties have made it clear they will not engage with parties threatening constitutional principles and the rule of law, such as the MK.

“Political parties in South Africa must find common ground because no one can govern alone,” said IFP spokesperson. “We are willing to work with any party committed to rebuilding our country and respecting the rule of law.”

Moving Forward

The IEC announced plans to hold a comprehensive debriefing session, ensuring gaps identified during the election process are addressed. The focus will be on improving systems and practices for future elections.

In closing, the IEC expressed gratitude towards various stakeholders, including the South African Police Service, defense forces, and international observers, who played crucial roles in maintaining the integrity of the election process.

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