IEC ready for elections but challenges remain – IRR

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is likely to be ready and able to manage next year’s national and provincial elections, but there are significant challenges.

This was the message at a webinar hosted by this morning by the Institute of Race Relations, where elections expert, Michael Atkins, gave his assessment of the IEC’s readiness ahead of next year’s crucial poll.

Atkins’ presentation was based on a paper commissioned by the IRR, entitled How Ready Will We Be for the 2024 Elections? It can be read here and Atkins’ presentation can be watched here.

Atkins noted that the IEC faces a number of challenges ahead of next year’s election, including funding constraints and a new electoral system. This is in a global context where democracy itself faces challenges from disputed election results to disinformation.

He said that the fact that there will be a third ballot in next year’s election could see the announcement of election results later than the now customary three days (voters will receive two national ballots, rather than one, because of changes to the electoral system which now allows independents to contest national and provincial elections).

Despite these challenges, he noted that there are a number of proactive steps that political parties, the media, and civil society organisations could take to help protect the sanctity of South African elections.

Atkins also noted that the IEC had managed difficult elections in the past and could do so again, saying that the Commission remained a competent, well-run organisation. However, if there are any new budget cuts, he said that the most likely consequence would be the cancellation of the second voter registration weekend, scheduled for February, 2024.

Atkins concluded that while the IEC will in all likelihood be ready for next year’s election, it still faces challenges, particularly if there are delays, or more objections to published results than normal. These concerns can be mitigated by the IEC being responsive and open regarding queries and disputes, to ensure it retains the trust of the public.

Media contacts: 

Marius Roodt, IRR Senior Analyst

Tel: +2782-779-7035


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Sinalo Thuku, Tel: 073 932 8506 Email: