'For us to have a desk with party colours at IEC results centre was campaigning' - Cope

The IEC Results Operations Centre in Pretoria. The commission deployed more than 28,700 voting stations across the country for the 2019 general elections.
The IEC Results Operations Centre in Pretoria. The commission deployed more than 28,700 voting stations across the country for the 2019 general elections.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba

Three seemingly sticklers for details standout at the IEC’s national election results centre in Pretoria by their bright table clothes on their desks.

Most visible is the PAC, a veteran of six elections, followed by Cope and AIC, who also decorated their desks with party colours. Cope's deputy secretary general Rob Huchingson admitted that the cloth was a bit of both campaigning and being a stickler for detail.

“It might stem from a bit of respect for your surrounding. It is always unnatural to have a table without a tablecloth. And of course it is a bit of campaigning, there are TV cameras everywhere and we want Cope to be seen. It has become a symbol of good governance for us, and transparency and dependable,” Huchingson said.

But the national results centre is a far more serious place than tablecloth campaigning. Through its acting national spokesperson, Dakota Legoete, the ANC believes its campaign strategy will yield results, because the party has campaigned harder than it has done before.

“Our mood is cordial and positive.  This was one of the most hectic election campaigns I have ever been involved in. It was a back-to-back, wall-to-wall campaign, street by street, village by village, Metro by metro, province by province. It was not easy. You will see that we have about 48 parties and all of them trying to get to the jugular vein of the ANC,” Legoete said.

However, Legoete would not be drawn to predicting what the outcome of the election might be but indicated that the party was happy with the effort it put in its campaign. He raised concerns that even in the late afternoon, there were 14 voting stations in KwaZulu-Natal that still could not open due to protests. But Legoete was happy that those who wanted to vote were able to do so in other voting stations nearby.

DA's James Selfe is equally happy with how his party prepared for the sixth democratic elections but indicated that while most voting stations opened on time, there were inexplicable instances in which some voting stations ran out of ballot papers as early as 10:00am. Selfe attributed the glitches to lack of proper planning on the part of the IEC.

“The Democratic Alliance has been well prepared for this election. We deployed literally thousands on the ground to assist. Most voting stations opened on time but there were some inexplicable and very worrying in the voting process. Some did not have the right equipment and some ran out of ballot papers as early as 10 o'clock. For example, just before noon, seven out of the nine voting stations in one ward in central Cape Town ran out of ballot papers. That has to be attributable to bad planning,” Selfe said.

He said his party’s objective was to bring the ANC under 50%, win one of the provinces and retain the Western Cape. He added that the party’s mood was positive, cheerful and confident as they waited for the final election results.

While many party representatives are in high spirit, mingling at their desks, situated at the foot of the big screen at the nerve centre of elections, some party representatives had not yet occupied their desks where they should. They supposedly feel the pulse of their political parties performance on the ground. Among those that had not shown their faces for most of the first day were famous newbies such as ATM and ACM.  

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