A man from Jobburg casts his vote in the 2021 election.
- Cutting the IWC budget could undermine democracy, my vote said.
- The advocacy group responded to an IEC-planned budget cut of Rs 770 million over the next three years.
- My Vote Counts supported the call of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs to reconsider the budget cuts.
Reducing the budget of the South African Electoral Commission (IEC) could undermine democracy, according to human rights group My Vote Counts.
Last week, News24 reported that the IEC budget had been cut by almost Rs 770 million over the next three years, and the IEC said the 2024 election would be an undefined territory.
My Vote Counts expressed deep concern over this reduction in a statement issued Tuesday.
“This will undermine the IEC’s ability to fulfill its mandate and is a threat to our democracy,” My Vote Counts spokeswoman Sheylan Clark said in a statement.
“The IEC is a Chapter 9 institution established by the South African Constitution to protect our democracy. It primarily governs our elections, as well as the recently enacted Law on the Financing of Political Parties. IEC budget cuts are a long-term threat to transparency and accountability. , upgrade our electoral system and support our democracy. “
READ | Why the next election will be “unexplored territory” for the IWC.
My vote count acknowledged that the cuts did not exist in isolation, but were part of the government’s commitment to a strict budget.
The impact of the budget cuts included the following:
- There will be no second weekend to register voters in the 2024 provincial and republican elections;
- Voter education and advocacy will not be adequately funded;
- Implementation of the Election Law will be jeopardized;
- Additional staff cannot be appointed; and
- Plans to launch an e-voting pilot project to ensure free and fair elections are currently underfunded.
“This commitment undermines the government’s ability to fulfill its constitutional obligations to provide education, health and social services and cannot be justified. If we call for the strengthening of the IEC, we also call for an end to austerity measures.”
The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, to which the IEC presented its annual action plan and budget last week, said in a statement that although it was aware of the financial pressures facing South Africa, it believed that underfunding of this important pillar of South African democracy should be reconsidered to ensure that democratic processes are not undermined.
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Clark said My Vote Counts fully supports the committee’s call.
“We simply cannot weaken the institutions that play such an important role in upholding our democratic rights.”
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