Outcome of Multi-Party meeting with IEC Commissioners (7 April 2008) - statement issued by Mr Bantu Holomisa in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Multi-Pary Secretariat

The Multi-Party Secretariat (MPS) held a meeting on 7 April with the IEC Chairperson and other Commissioners. We believe the meeting went well and laid the foundation for further constructive engagement.

The following political parties attended the meeting, which was a clear indication of the seriousness of the concerns regarding matters affecting the electoral process:
1. African Christian Democratic Party
2. African National Congress
4. African People's Convention
5. Azanian People's Organisation
6. Democratic Alliance
7. Federation of Democrats
8. Freedom Front Plus
9. Independent Democrats
10. Khoisan United Front
11. National Democratic Convention
12. Pan Africanist Congress of Azania
13. United Christian Democratic Party
14. United Democratic Movement

Both the IEC and the political parties present agreed that they should work in unison to remove factors that bring about discontent for both parties. The meeting also agreed that there are long- and short term issues that should be addressed either by the political parties themselves or jointly with the IEC and/or the organs of State.

In line with this view the meeting agreed that the MPS should go back and synchronise the issues as suggested and engage the IEC in further deliberations on the implementation of such resolutions.

What came out clearly from the meeting was the fundamental requirement of decision making at national Political Liaison Committee (PLC) level which led to suspicions that the IEC is not independent. The political parties felt that, as major stakeholders in the electoral process, their views cannot be ignored. It is therefore clear that this issue should be one of the priorities that must be given urgent attention especially that not all the parties had influence on the appointment of current IEC Commissioners.

The MPS is scheduled to meet next week with a view to identify items that need short-term implementation and long-term implementation:
Short term issues include, amongst others:
- Municipal Electoral Officers' appointments and the use of SADTU members as presiding officers,
- MEC7 Forms which registers people on the day of voting, instead of following the prescribed voters' roll,
- Appointment of electoral staff,
- The powers of the Provincial Political Liaison Committees,
- The scanning/capturing/numbering of ballot papers,
- Safety/monitoring of voting material,
- Ill-treatment of party agents by presiding officers,
- The role of state security agents,
- Need for a transparency on tenders issued by the IEC, and
- The media - the IEC also informed us that they are organising a workshop at the Reserve Bank on 24-25 April 2008, which would include the media, political parties and ICASA.

Longer term issues include, amongst others:
- Matters that might require legislative changes,
- Review of the composition of the IEC Commission to represent all stakeholders,
- The formula for party funding,
- Floor-crossing.

The meeting also noted that some of the problems alluded to at the meeting are already a subject of discussion at National Political Liaison Committee level.

One thing that nobody can deny is that the meeting managed to narrow the gap between the IEC and political parties and also to educate one another on a number of issues.

Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
Chairperson: Multi-Party Secretariat