With only eight days left before this year's elections kickoff, the IEC officially opened its National Results Operation Centre in Pretoria. Picture: David Ritchie African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - With only eight days left before this year's national and provincial elections With only eight days left before this year's national and provincial elections kickoff, the Electoral Commission officially opened its National Results Operation Centre in Pretoria on Tuesday

IEC chairman Glenn Mashinini said it was all systems go for the Commission.

Up to 48 political parties are expected to contest the elections on May 8.

Mashinini said as the country marked 25 years of Democracy on April 27, the IEC and its stakeholders would be returning to the results operation centre for the ninth time since 1994.

"Over the past 20 years, we have announced the results of the four previous national and provincial elections and the four previous municipal elections here. From this very stage we have declared each of those previous elections free and fair and each of these results have been accepted by the contestants, observers and the people of South Africa as a fair reflection of the will of the people and from this stage we will again announce the results of these elections this weekend."

Mashinini also highlighted that the transparency of the upcoming election, as in the past, would be an important focus for the IEC.

"The need for transparency and up to date information is paramount to the credibility of any election... providing transparency in an election helps establish trust and public confidence in the process as it gives all stakeholders the ability to verify the results for themselves," he said.

IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo in the meantime said reaching this point of elections is never easy and that the preparation that went into these elections has tested the Commission.

Some of the challenges faced by the IEC include the collections of voters' addresses which, he said, preoccupied the IEC for the past three years but added they were successful in this task as the full addresses of almost 85 percent of the voters' roll have been recorded.

Next week, the first leg of the elections is set to kick off with special votes where 770 000 people will be heading to the polls.

Voting abroad has already taken place.

Political Bureau

undefined