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The Electoral Commission

‘One man one vote’ is political freedom in its purest form, perhaps, but democracy in Africa has a chequered history. The recent past has recorded numerous examples, throughout the continent, of elections being anything but free and fair, with voter intimidation ranging from the subtle to extremely violent.

Fortunately, in the Republic, we have the Electoral Act 19981 and the Electoral Commission Act 1996.2 The latter established the Electoral Commission in order for it to manage national, provincial and local elections. Its objects are to strengthen constitutional democracy and promote democratic electoral processes. The Electoral Commission Act also provides for the registration of political parties, and the establishment of the Electoral Court. Long live democracy!

  1. It is a criminal offence to hinder or obstruct the Commission, a member of its staff, or the Chief Electoral Officer in their official business.3

  2. If you interrupt or misbehave during any meeting of the Commission it is an offence.4

  3. The same applies to the proceedings of the Electoral Court.5

  4. It is a crime to do anything intended or likely to influence the Commission or the Electoral Court, in an improper way, in connection with any matter which is to be considered by them.6

  1. For the Electoral Act 1998, see ‘Elections and voting’. 

  2. As amended; the latest amendment was effected by Act 22 of 2014. 

  3. Section 21(1)a. 

  4. Section 21(1)b. 

  5. Section 21(1)b. 

  6. Section 21(1)c.