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The Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) is the largest international organisation in the field of election management. A-WEB is comprised of 119 election management bodies (EMBs) from 108 countries.

A-WEB was founded with the vision to efficiently and effectively spread free, fair, transparent and participative election worldwide. It aims to identify the latest trends, challenges and developments in democratic election management and electoral processes, and to promote the exchange of experience and expertise among EMBs.

A-WEB programmes include the following:

  • Capacity building for improving election management
  • International election observation support
  • Electoral law reform
  • Building infrastructure for election management
  • EMB capacity building.

India is currently the Chairperson of the A-WEB, with South Africa in the position of the Vice-Chairperson. The two office bearers were elected during the last A-WEB General Assembly meeting, held in India in 2019. The elected tenure is for two years. The General Assembly convenes every two years to, among other business, elect a chairperson and a vice-chairperson of the association.

The next general assembly is to be held in South Africa on 19 October 2022. Constitutionally, this General Assembly should have been held in 2021.  However, the General Assembly could not convene in 2021 as prescribed due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.  With the spread and severity of the pandemic subsiding in many parts of the world and the concomitant increase in vaccinations leading to possible population immunity, it is now possible to convene the 5th General Assembly.

Electoral Commission of South Africa

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (often referred to as the Independent Electoral Commission or IEC) is South Africa’s election management body, an independent organisation established under Chapter Nine of the Constitution. It conducts elections for the National Assembly, provincial legislatures and municipal councils.

An interim Electoral Commission was created in 1993 to manage South Africa’s first democratic election of the national and provincial legislatures, which was held in April 1994. The permanent Electoral Commission was established in 1996.

The Commission’s primary functions, as outlined in Section 190(1) of the Constitution, are to manage elections at all levels of government; to ensure that elections are free and fair; and to declare the results of elections in as short a time as possible (within seven days, according to the Electoral Commission Act).

It has managed general (national and provincial) elections in 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019, and local government (municipal) elections in 1995-96, 2000, 2006, 2011, 2016 and 2021, as well as numerous local by-elections.

Other functions of the Commission are outlined in the Electoral Commission Act of 1996, the Electoral Act of 1998, and, most recently, the Political Party Funding Act of 2018.

These functions include:

  • Promoting voter education
  • Registering voters and political parties
  • Reviewing electoral legislation
  • Allocating seats to constituencies and delineating administrative voting areas
  • Disbursing public funding to, and regulating private funding of, political parties.