For the 2014 national and provincial elections, the SAJBD put together South Africa’s first interfaith and multinational election observer team to assist the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on polling day. Our team comprised nearly 100 volunteers from across the religious, ethnic and national spectrum, including Jews, Muslims, Christians, British and Australian citizens and Zimbabwean and Congolese refugees. Officially accredited by the IEC,
it monitored events at over 250 voting stations in five cities and across three provinces, supervising the delivery of ballot boxes ,the opening of the polls, helping to resolve problems at polling stations and ensuring that the polls were closed and that counting began on time.
From various points of view, our Election Monitoring initiative was a significant success. In practical terms, it provided a vehicle through which members of the public wishing to contribute to the election process could do so. Their participation in turn helped the IEC to fulfil its mandate of ensuring not only that the polling ran smoothly and efficiently, but was at all times both free and fair. Beyond this, it was an inspiring bridge-building experience, with South Africans of widely differing backgrounds coming together to contribute to our country’s democratic process.
For the upcoming municipal elections on 3 August, the Board is again putting together an interfaith and multinational observer team, and I encourage as many of our own community as possible to be part of it. To do so, please send your full name as it appears in your ID book, contact details and ID number to firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for applications for organisations to observe the elections is 24 June, so all those interested in coming on board should do so as soon as possible.