In preparation for the 2016 Local Government Elections, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has accredited the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) as a religious authority in South Africa with observer status. Religious leaders across the country will be tasked with monitoring the elections to ensure that they are free and fair. They have a major responsibility, and the indications, unfortunately, are that they may have an even more crucial role to play this time around in light of the political violence in parts of the country.
“As an accredited organization, the MJC will familiarize its members who will be deployed to voting stations with the Powers and Duties of Election Observers as laid out in Section 42 of the Local Government Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000,” said deputy president Maulana Abdul-Khaliq Allie.
During a meeting with the Western Cape’s Provincial Electoral Officer, Rev Courtney Sampson in March, the IEC shared common concerns such as the important role of civil society in ensuring free and fair elections; ichallenges and obstacles to free and fair elections; approaches, tools and new ways of working to ensure free elections; and the co-ordination of initiatives and co-operation amongst stakeholders.
To ensure that every citizen uses their right to exercise their vote, the MJC will be encouraging voters via the masajid, media and its membership to register. Part of the task of the MJC as observers will be to familiarise members who will be deployed to voting stations of their responsibility to ensure free and fair elections. In order to ensure a smooth electoral process, the MJC will coordinate initiatives and encourage cooperation amongst stakeholders.
“We pray that our community contributes, interacts and actively promotes voter registration so that we take responsibility for the leadership that we vote for and hold elected leaders accountable for their role towards serving the people,” said Allie. VOC