On Wednesday, October 09, 2013, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa launched its 2014 Election Campaign in Midrand, marking the beginning of the vibrant atmosphere associated with this phase of the electoral cycle. The significance of these elections lies in that South Africa will be celebrating 20 years of democracy.
In an effort to ensure a seamless election process, and as one of the myriad of planned and implemented interventions, the IEC convened a five-day BRIDGE Polling, Counting and Results Modular workshop for its Senior Administration Officers, Outreach and Training Officers. Twenty-four IEC officials converged at the Election House in Centurion from 14-18 October, 2013. Provinces selected the team who were all geared up to share their knowledge, experiences and learn from their counterparts and the facilitation team. The lively participation filled the room with fun laughter song and dance as participants acted out role-plays, mimicked their characters and created an amazing atmosphere perfect for learning. “This is how we do it in Mzansi”, said one breathless participant after his stint on stage.
The importance of the module content cannot be down-played as it is the crux of the democratic process, the deciding factor of all that would have been imagined, dreamed of by all actors – the realization of all the hard work and sleepless nights endured to election day. Participants took sessions seriously and remained committed to the intensity of the training and demands made on them throughout the course. The Senior Manager for Human Resources and Training, Ms. Bonolo Gopane, encouraged participants to apply the knowledge gained from the workshop in their daily operations. She asserted her commitment to supporting the team on their growth and development trajectory as her humble contribution to producing and retaining a high caliber of election technocrats within the Commission. She further mentioned that the skills gained would in turn be resourceful in entrenching democracy and raising the profile of the Commission and that of South Africa high.
It was encouraging to participants to hear this commitment and that it was not based on a short-term objective but rather a long-term road map designed to professionalise election administration through continuous development and capacity building.
The team of semi-accredited facilitators who displayed a tapestry of talent and kept participants on the go, were: Thuleka Kholisa, South Africa; Masego Kgalemang Ndlovu, Botswana, Hermia Damons, South Africa and Tumisang Mmape, Botswana. Great job, Team!!
Tomsie P Dlamini