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South Africans Still Trust the IEC

By Naadiya Adams

South Africans still trust the Independent Electoral Commission, although there is a decline of trust in democracy. This is according to the Human Sciences Research Council, who briefed the media on its findings on the election satisfaction survey yesterday. The survey is based on voter interviews collected on election day.

In an interview with Radio Islam, Dr Mercy Ngungu from the Developmental, Capable and Ethical State research division at the HSRC gave insight into the findings.

“An overwhelming 95% found the election to be free and 94% to be fair. Now this trend has stayed the same, the lowest we’ve ever gotten is 94% of freeness and it has been consistent over the years,” explains Ngungu.

Ngungu mentioned that the findings also represented an overall voter experience satisfaction; she says voters were happy with the experience and found the process to be simple and convenient.

“68% of them took less than 15 minutes to arrive at the voting stations and the voting stations were easily accessible. They waited less than 15 minutes which is more than three quarters of the population. Covid protocols were well followed by the IEC,” said Ngungu.

While there has been widespread condemnation of the IEC in this year’s municipal elections, Ngungu says the sample is an accurate representation of voter experiences and feelings across the country. She says statistically the one or perhaps two voting stations that experienced problems in various areas does not impact the overall result.

Ngungu also confirmed that 96% of voters received the secret ballot paper, she says the sample is extremely accurate as it was conducted under strict scientific guidelines.

“What we do is we draw a very scientific accurate sample. We follow a stratified model sampling procedure, whereby we select 300 voting stations using a representative sample in the voter register,” says Ngungu.

The sample captures the dynamics of the voting station throughout the day from the time it opens to the time the poll closes.

The survey gives an indication that the indictment of the historical low voter turnout falls on the shoulders of the political parties rather than on the electoral process itself.

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