BES: Overview Of activities
National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA)
In 2016, the EISA Balloting and Electoral Services (BES) was contracted by NUMSA to conduct the eight Regional Congress elections of the Regional Office Bearers (ROBs). To date seven have been completed and all were successfully conducted by EISA. Nominations were submitted prior to the conferences and EISA compiled a nomination audit for each region prior to the conferences. EISA presented the nomination audits at the conferences and further called for nominations from the floor. Where there was a contestation for positions, EISA then conducted the voting process. EISA received positive feedback from the NUMSA national office for the elections conducted so far.
Dikuno Tsa Sechaba Development Trust Selection Process
The Dikuno Tsa Sechaba is a development trust that has been established to serve the local communities who are the beneficiaries of the land that the Anglo Platinum mine operates on. EISA has been contracted to assist with the selection process of the community trustees from these benefit areas. This entails informing the community about the upcoming selection process; training, evaluating and selecting community members to assist in the registration and nomination process; conducting the registration and nomination process; publication of results and assisting with the selection panel review process. The registration phase ran from the 21-25 September 2016 in the five communities, namely Smash Block,Northam Ward 7,Northam Ward 8,Mantsere Traditional Village and Sebilong.
South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU)
EISA was contracted by SATAWU to manage the election of the SATAWU KwaZulu Natal Provincial Office Bearers at its Special Provincial Congress held on 9 to 10 September 2016 in Durban. Nominations were conducted in the conference and all positions were contested. Voting however never took place as the conference had to be postponed due to disagreements within SATAWU.
Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU)
EISA conducted the FAWU national office bearers elections at its national Congress held from 22 to 25 August 2016 at Bela Bela, Limpopo. The Congress was constituted by 800 voting delegates. The nominations were conducted at the conference and all positions were uncontested. No voting took place.
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU)
On August 6 and 7 2016, EISA conducted the election for AMCU KwaZulu Natal Provincial Office Bearers at its inaugural Provincial Congress in Durban, KwaZulu Natal. The Congress comprised of 150 delegates. Nominations were conducted at the conference and all the positions were uncontested.
United Democratic Movement National Congress elections
EISA’s BES successfully ran the United Democratic Movement (UDM) National Congress elections for the party’s National Office Bearers in December 2015, Bloemontein.
EISA has developed various technologies that are adaptable to specific procedural requirements according to the type of election.
During 20 to 24 July 2014, EISA conducted elections for office bearers for the SATAWU Gauteng Provincial Congress using tablets (one of the different technologies that EISA offers). The innovative election technology was used side by side with the manual voting method.
Electronic balloting demonstration for SATAWU
EISA’s Balloting and Election Services recently conducted a demonstration of its newly developed electronic balloting for on sight non statutory elections presenting the electronic ballot paper to the SATAWU Eastern Cape provincial congress held in
North West Province 2014: Traditional council elections conducted
In 2013 EISA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Member of Executive Council of the North West Province’s Provincial Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Manketsi Tlhape, to conduct elections for 52 traditional councils in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Ngaka Modiri Molema and Bojanala Platinum Districts, in terms of the South African Traditional Leadership and Governance Act of 2005. The elections were conducted on 25 January 2014; the count was conducted immediately after polling and the results were given to candidates and posted outside polling stations thereafter.
COPE 2014: Party national leadership elections
10-12 January 2014
The BES unit conducted leadership elections for the Congress of the People (COPE), a South African political party, at its 2014 National Congress held at the Birchwood Hotel an OR Tambo Convention Centre in Boksburg, Gauteng province. COPE explained its decision to utilise EISA’s services thus “In order to ensure that the First National Congress of the Congress of the People is totally transparent without any political interference of whatsoever nature, the Electoral Institute for The Sustainability of Democracy in Africa will conduct the entire election process. Not a single member of the party, junior or senior, will get anywhere close to the election process. EISA is now totally in charge of the election process to be conducted at the Congress this weekend. Mr. Ebrahim Fakir, Director of Governance Institutions and Processes (pictured) together with the EISA staff will be in charge of the process henceforth” (COPE 2014 “2014 National Congress”, [www] http://www.congressofthepeople.org.za/content/page/2014-national-congress).
North West Province 2013: Traditional council elections preparations
In 2013 EISA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Member of Executive Council of the North West Province’s Provincial Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Manketsi Tlhape, to conduct elections for 52 traditional councils in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Ngaka Modiri Molema and Bojanala Platinum Districts, in terms of the South African Traditional Leadership and Governance Act of 2005. MEC Tlhape said that “we are confident that the EISA has the necessary capacity. We are also hoping that this election will bring back stability in our traditional communities especially where there has been a constant conflict”. After the undertaking of voter registration in late November 2014, candidates nomination was undertaken, the voters’ rolls were audited and presented for inspection, objections to candidates and voters’ roll entries and appeals by candidates and voters objected to processed, the final rolls were published. The elections were scheduled for 25 January 2014.
The BES unit increased its support to a variety of organisations and statutory bodies including business, labour, government, civic associations, tertiary institutions, community based organisations and political parties. To enable BES to ensure that it offers clients an up to date professional service, the unit expanded its scope of work into new areas. This included facilitating drafting the Student Representative Council Constitution of the Cape Peninsular University of Technology (CPUT). A similar intervention was conducted for the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Through the department’s continued commitment in sourcing new clients, BES was contracted to administer the election of the Municipal Council’s Pension Fund (MCPF) and Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF) Board of Trustees which runs until 2012.
Enhancing EISA’s institutional capacity is one of the main objectives of the organisation and 2011 saw BES playing a key role towards the realisation of this initiative, particularly in the area of technology which is becoming more and more an integral part of elections on the African electoral landscape. Electronic voting has been identified as one of the tools to achieve this. Following study tours conducted in Brazil and Philippines in 2010 where e-voting technology is used, BES initiated a pilot project of e-voting by conducting a sample parallel vote to test the system during one of the BES elections using both paper and an electronic voting and counting machine. To further ensure that EISA offers its clients up to date and professional services, BES developed an Electronic Verification System to enable EISA to verify membership of pension and medical funds as well as to facilitate more efficient and quicker counting of ballots. This has proved particularly effective when conducting large scale postal votes.
Other activities included:
The BES unit continued to offer professional services to its traditional clients, while at the same time sourcing new clients, as well as seeking innovative ways to ensure an efficient service. At the beginning of 2010, BES serviced Transmed Medical Fund for the election for member trustees.
Following a careful assessment of the intra-party conflicts, particularly around leadership elections and primary elections in the three countries, Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa, covered by this project, EISA provided technical expertise through the facilitation of internal elections within parties. The Political Parties Support, in collaboration with EISA’s Balloting and Electoral Services (BES ), piloted this intervention in Botswana by running the Central Committee Elections of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). Significantly, this was the first internal political party election in Botswana to be run by a professional organisation. Subsequent to the facilitation of the internal elections of the BCP, the party has begun to effect changes to its electoral processes and procedures on the recommendations made by EISA . This was done in a post election report which identified gaps in the extant party electoral processes in order to ensure a fair and transparent electoral process for future party elections. This intervention has served to minimise disputes that usually occur after party leadership elections. EISA ‘s role in the internal party electoral process of the BCP received wide coverage in the print and electronic media and these elections were hailed as having been credible and professionally conducted. As a result, other parties in Botswana have also expressed an interest in having their internal leadership elections conducted by EISA in order to avert internal conflict which have precipitated party splits.
Some of the clients that BES conducted trustee elections for during 2009 included, the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), Institute of Retirement Funds (IRF) of South Africa Member Trustees, Black Science Technology and Engineering Professionals (BSTEP) Board of Directors, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and some of the structures of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).
The main highlights of the year included successful completion of the GEPF elections, the sixth biggest fund in the world with a total of 1.1 million voters. The other highlight was the IRF of South Africa Member Trustees election which was also successfully completed.
BES conducted elections for the NUM at regional and national levels, for the COSATU Congress and the BSTEP Board of Directors.
The year finished with the appointment of EISA to manage and administer the Transmed Medical Fund election for member trustees, which will be completed early next year. The awarding of the multi-million rand contract to conduct the Transmed Board of Trustees elections provided BES with an opportunity to interrogate methods of conducting large postal and onsite voting.
In the area of corporate governance, BES signed a contract to conduct elections for the South African Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), the sixth largest pension fund in the world.
In 2008 the department continued to provide its services to a range of clients. Some of the clients that BES conducted trustee elections for, included Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund’s (TSDBF) postal elections, the nomination process for the South African Nursing Council (SANC) and the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC), elections for the Evaton Development Forum as commissioned by the Department of Housing (Gauteng) and the Bonitas Medical Aid referendum on the amalgamation with the BHP Billiton Medical Aid Scheme.
Medical aid schemes and group retirement pension funds elections hardly capture media attention presumably because of their nonpolitical nature. However, it is procedurally and operationally the most complex election and requires the use of a combination of electoral formulas, voting methodologies and operational technologies. It is conducted both by a mixture of postal and on-site elections.
Through the efforts of diligent BES electoral staff, challenges encountered when conducting elections for CBOs and NGOs were resolved.
The volume of work in 2007 was much higher than in previous years, indicating that BES has become an established player in the area of corporate governance elections. This is a testament of confidence by clients. The department was faced with, and responded positively to, the challenge of the establishment of a competing agency staffed mainly by former BES staff.
Some of the clients that BES conducted trustee elections for during the period under review included the Amplats Group Pension Fund (AGPF), the Standard Bank Group Retirement Fund (SBGRF) and the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS). Other highlights included conducting elections for all the African National Congress (ANC) structures and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) regional and provincial structures.
The main highlights of the year included successful completion of the postal vote for the GEMS Board of Trustees election. Given the size of the electorate (105 411 members), this required skilful organisation. The other highlight was the Standard Bank Group Retirement Fund (SBGRF), which was also successfully completed. Both GEMS and SBGRF included an element of electronic voting and counting and both had to be observed by auditors with an IT background. The use of IT, particularly electronic counting, is gaining momentum, especially for large-scale elections, including postal voting.
Another highlight was the conclusion of the Bonitas Medical Fund elections. Since this is the second largest scheme in the country, EISA’s involvement further bolstered its position as the leading and preferred service provider. This election was a highlight for another reason, namely the extent of the challenge it posed for BES. Firstly, the process included several legal challenges over the rules which raised administrative complexities. Secondly, there was a challenge in ensuring that the election took place in an environment conducive to credible elections. It is therefore pleasing to report that, in spite of these challenges, the election was completed and the outcome accepted by the members as well as the Registrar of Medical Schemes.
In addition to BES having successfully conducted elections for almost all the structures of the ANC at regional and provincial levels, as well as all structures of POPCRU, the department also conducted elections for community-based organisations (CBOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as the South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA) Gauteng Chapter, Bekkersdal Development Forum, all structures of the Gauteng Community Organisations (GCO) and Soweto Media Resources Centre (Jozi FM).
The year finished with another interesting election for the Amplats Group Provident Fund (AGPF). The AMPLATS group is the world leading primary producer of the platinum group of metals. Unlike GEMS and SBGRF which were postal elections, the AGPF elections were conducted on-site and throughout the length and breadth of platinum mines from Rustenburg to Thabazimbi and over 11 production areas. Given that voters work different shifts, electoral staff had to be at the voting stations, which were located in all the mining shafts, at 3am in time to conduct elections for miners going down the mine for the first shift and concluding at midnight when the last shift came on duty. The unusual hours that electoral staff had to work brought a new dimension to the promotion of corporate governance within the mining sector and gave BES an opportunity to be part of this extraordinary electoral process.
In 2006 the focus was on consolidating the work of service quality improvement begun in 2005 and on exploring the development of additional value added services. Progress was indicated by positive feedback on service quality from clients throughout the year. Cost reductions were attained through quicker turnaround times and the introduction of technology based communication and voting systems.
Despite a slight decrease in the volume of election activities compared with 2005, the elections of 2006 were of a high profile, such as COSATU, SADTU, NADECO AND THE UIF. the first three resulted in unprecedented media coverage for EISA. Other highlights included the Bonitas Medical Fund and the WWSA board of trustees elections.
Trade Union office bearer elections included COSATU and SADTU. COSATU, with close to two million members, is the largest trade union federation in South Africa and SADTU one of its largest affiliates. Both elections were highly contested and tense, the first requiring the processing of 2300 votes in seven hours and the second marked by accusations without basis of irregularity; happily both were completed successfully.
In 2006 BES conducted the Board of Trustee elections for the Bonitas Medical Fund and the Volkswagen Provident Fund. Bonitas, the second largest medical aid in South Africa, had over 230 000 members making for an exceptionally challenging election, especially as there was an absence of agreement on the election procedures and rules which resulted in court cases.
Political party elections included those for provincial and national office bearer elections for parties such as the African National Congress (ANC), the National Democratic Convention and the United Independent Fund. The ANC Eastern Cape elections drew media coverage for EISA because of the province is the ANC’s largest.
In 2005 BES continued to place emphasis on improving its capacity to deliver value-added and quality services to its clients. The increase and diversification of personnel has resulted in higher rates of cost recovery and increased responsiveness to client demands. The full commissioning of an electronic management system made it possible for clients to conduct elections in a fraction of the time and with greater accuracy than before.
There was a 14% decline in the number of elections on 2004, due to cyclical changes in elections and as a result of the merger of some higher education institutions in South Africa. In 2005 BES was able to retain almost all its traditional clients in the face of increasing competition. This loyalty cannot be taken for granted and serves rather as an indicator of the currency of the department’s services.
In 2005 elections were conducted for the ANC provincial structures, except the Eastern Cape, which is scheduled for 2006. Apart from the scale of operations involved, the elections were highly contested and attracted a great deal of public interest. This brought into focus the successful role of EISA in ensuring acceptance of the electoral outcomes by the factions involved.
A highlight of the year was the successful conduct of the Tswane University of Technology student government elections with 44 000 eligible voters in five provinces. However, the merger of many higher education institutions forced the delay of many elections until legal strictures governing structures systems and procedures had been met. Towards the end of 2005, however, BES was approached by a number of these bodies to assist with their constitutional review process.
BES conducted elections for the Transmed Medical Fund’s 81 000 members over a period of 12 months from July 2004 to July 2005. Since 2002 BES has been working with the Western Cape government’s transport department in the taxi transformation process. The installation of democratic representative leadership at all levels is viewed as critical for unity, sustainability and transformation in the industry. BES conducted both metered and minibus taxi elections.
The year 2004 marked yet another steady but emphatic step in growth for BES as demand for its services rose by 13% on 2003, while almost half of this growth was from new clients. This involved an average of one election per week. The rise in demand has stimulated the development of new, innovative and efficient election process management solutions. The emphasis on 2004 was on reducing costs and improving quality through the development of execution models for each election type and of software to integrate and automate the conduct of electoral processes.
In 2004 elections for the Police, Prisons and Civil Rights Union at national and provincial level were successfully undertaken. Elections were also conducted for the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union and the National Union of metalworkers.
Elections were also conducted for various African National Congress (ANC) structures at various levels, including that of the ANC Youth League National Executive Committee at its 22nd National Conference with 3400 voting delegates. Furthermore, elections were undertaken for trustees for the Government Employees Pension, Standard Bank Group Retirement and De Beers Group Provident Funds.
2003 was a challenging and rewarding year and the process of streamlining and consolidating the operations and service delivery of BES continued, resulting in greater efficiency and more effective coordination.
Trade Unions constitute the traditional client base of BES and they remained important partners, with BES conducting elections for the Communication Workers Union, the National Union of Mineworkers and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union. Additionally, the of national office bearers for the two million strong Congress of Trade Unions of South Africa involved conducting nominations at 21 affiliates and the administration of the vote of 1800 delegates at the 8th National Congress.
In August 2003 BES conducted the nomination and election processes for seven of the nine Provincial Executive Committees of the African National Congress Women’s league and of the National Executive Committee, at the National Conference, with 2131 voting delegates.
Between July and December 2003 BES conducted Member Trustee Elections for Amplats Mines and Group Provident Funds. This was a massive undertaking since it involved two funds run concurrently involving 44 000 voters divided into constituencies dispersed over three provinces. The first postal vote for Trustees of the 275 000 member Government Employees pension Fund was also undertaken successfully.
During the last quarter of 2002 BES undertook the exciting challenge of managing the election of the 65 member National Executive Committee of the African National Congress by 3018 voting delegates at its National Conference.
BES aided in the establishment of a community development forum for the mining community of Rietspruit in Witbank. This extensive undertaking included the voter registration and education as well as the management of election processes.
A Student Representative Council elections for Wits University, with 21 000 eligible voters, was conducted by BES for the first time. It gave BES the opportunity to test the latest electronic vote counting technologies. Highly contested Student Representative Council elections for the University of the North were also undertaken.
BES conducted a number of elections for trade unions, not only at national and provincial levels as in the past, but at regional and branch levels also. Successful polls for the Western Cape regional and provincial taxi associations were conducted as well.
BES was able to bolster its relationship with the 400 member Institute of Retirement Funds by successfully conducting the election of its Board of Management; this opens up opportunities for future service provision to its members also.
BES experienced a rise in demand for its services through an influx of new users and the retention of its existing clientele in 2001. Most significant was BES’s penetration of the corporate and workplace sectors. This has been accompanied by a reduction in operational costs and a reduction in its budget deficit.
In 2000 BES conducted regional and national office bearer elections for the Congress of South African Trade Unions. It also entered into agreements to execute elections for the Nursing and Health Professionals Council and the Institute for Retirement Funds.
In 1999 BES conducted 50 elections for its user base of political parties, trade unions tertiary education institutions, and pension and provident funds. Among these were regional elections conducted for the South African Democratic Teachers Union and national ones for the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
In 1998 BES conducted elections for PR National-Provincial lists, as well as office bearers at regional and provincial level for the African national Congress and its Women’s and Youth Leagues. Elections were also organised and executed for, among other, various trade Unions such as the National Union of Mineworkers and POPCRU, statuatory bodies such as the SA Medical and Dental Council as well as the Student Representative Councils of seven tertiary education institutions.
BES conducted more than 80 elections at national and provincial level for political parties, trade unions tertiary education institutions, and pension and provident funds.