Local newsNews

The annual Helen Suzman memorial lecture was hosted at the Gordon Institute of Business Science

Justice Johann Kriegler said the 2024 national elections are likely to be more competitive than other elections.

As the 2024 national elections draw near, topical conversations around steering our 29-year-old democracy in the right direction and the role of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) are becoming more prevalent in stressing the importance of voting.

The Helen Suzman Foundation which turns 30 years old this year, held its annual memorial lecture at the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

Justice Johann Kriegler presented the lecture under the topic ‘Elections: facts and fantasies’.

The justice was part of the body that chaired the historic elections in 1994 and worked alongside Helen Suzman who was a commissioner at that time.

Kriegler said, “The most important lesson I have learned is that the legal framework of the election is foundational but first and foremost, elections are not legal processes. They are political processes and consequently should be examined in a political but legal light.”

Political analyst Lukhona Mnguni. Photo: Asanda Matlhare

He added he had scrutinised allegations that had been made in the past and present about the IEC’s shortcomings. Kriegler said the country had a system of proportional representation which was foreign to most South Africans because, in the past, we had a system where a candidate was elected in the constituency in their capacity as they do in the UK and America.

“It is a system in which parties compete and are given seats according to the number of votes they draw in general elections. The purpose of the election is to reflect in the legislature the split of the public opinion in the country, and proportional representation does this precisely than any other system.”
He noted that elections were an extremely complicated process; were embedded, grow, and are nurtured or neglected in a society, so when one tampers with such a multifaceted and societal organism, he or she did so at their peril.

Political analyst Lukhona Mnguni said Kriegler had delivered a thought-provoking lecture about the history of our elections. “To a certain extent as a country, we should be proud that we have managed to have free and fair elections. The IEC has put some regulations in place even though they will be restricting, but they are responding to their shortcomings and shortfalls that have been identified.”

Kriegler concluded, “We have seen political common factors and other electoral prognosticators agree that the 2024 elections are likely to be more competitive than other elections. I have watched the elections closely and have been proud that the IEC delivered an unbroken chain of good elections.”

He added the IEC had managed to conduct six peaceful and undisputed national and provincial elections and many municipal elections.

Related Articles

Back to top button