Tshwane - The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) says voter turnout of over 50 percent in the local government elections is above the global average.

EISA has deployed election observer missions across the country to monitor the 2016 local government polls.

Briefing the media at the national results operations centre in Tshwane on Thursday, EISA executive director Denis Kadima presented the institution's preliminary findings for Wednesday's elections. “As part of the observation methodology, the short term observers consulted with various electoral stakeholders including the IEC, political parties and the media.”

EISA deployed seven teams to various provinces which included Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Among other minor glitches Kadima said the IEC should consider more training for counting staff. “EISA teams noted that counting was generally conducted in line with procedures. There is however notable delays in a number of cases due to inadequate familiarity with procedures by the voting staff.”

Kadima commended the IEC for affording the opportunity for special votes, however the institute said the IEC should consider having special votes only on one day instead of two. “Given the relatively low number of voters having applied for early vote, it is unclear to the EISA why special votes were not carried out in one single day instead of two days.”

The institute plans to look at how the media has covered the local government elections as it believed the media's role was crucial for determining the freedom and fairness of elections.

The institute said its observation mission found that the elections were transparent, fair and credible and were in line with the constitutional and legal framework for elections.”The mission urges all stakeholders to pursue the values of political tolerance and to strongly castigate the surging malpractice of alleged political assassinations.”

Election Bureau