The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is a permanent body created by the Constitution (South African chapter nine institution) to manage free and fair elections at all levels of government(the National Assembly, the provincial legislatures and the municipal councils). IEC is publicly funded and accountable to parliament, but it remains an independent institution of the government.
The IEC was officially formed on 17 October 1996 to promote and safeguard democracy in South Africa after a temporary Electoral Commission was established in 1993 under the Interim Constitution to manage the first non-racial election of the national and provincial legislatures, which was held between the 26 to 29 April 1994. The IEC has been managing general (national and provincial) elections since 1999 up to date.
In terms of Section 190 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, the IEC is obligated to the following:
- manage elections of national, provincial and municipal legislative bodies;
- ensure that those elections are free and fair;
- declare the results of those elections; and
- compile and maintain a voters' roll.
Under Section 5 of the Electoral Commission Act, 1996, the main duties of the IEC is to compile and maintain a register of parties; undertake and promote research into electoral matters; promote voter education; declare the results of elections for national, provincial and municipal legislative bodies within seven days; and appoint appropriate public administrations in any sphere of government to conduct elections when necessary.
The IEC is composed of five members who are South Africa citizen with low party-political profile, and one of whom must be a judge. IEC Members are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the National Assembly, following nominations by a National Assembly inter-party committee. The President appoint a Commissioner for a period of seven years which can be extended for a particular period, on the recommendation of the National Assembly. The following are members of the IEC:Chairperson: Adv. Pansy Tlakula,Vice-Chairperson: Terry Tselane, Commissioner: Judge Thami Makhanya, Commissioner: Rev. Bongani Finca, and Commissioner: Ms Raenette Taljaard
• Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (2011). South Africa: Independent Electoral Commission . [online] Available at :www.eisa.org.za [Accessed 02 November 2013]