Voting is an affirmation of democracy: Former IEC Chair

Former chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, Brigalia Bam says watching South Africa’s democracy evolve through the election process has been one of the greatest joys of her life.


Bam visited the IEC’s results centre at the ICC in Durban. This is South Africa’s fifth local government elections.

While on her visit, she stopped to speak to former colleagues and even took a few pictures with those who remembered the sterling job she had done at the helm of the country’s electoral body.

Bam says she is overjoyed at how these local government elections have gone.

“It is really the greatest surprise of my own life, I could not believe when I was reading and looking on television a number of things that have happened that is very exciting. One of them is the number of South Africans who have registered the increase of the voting stations almost 5 000 in KZN.”

Bam lamented the recent spate of politically motivated killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Our level of tolerance is very low in some places it is very regrettable that if someone wants a position I hold then I am prepared to take that person’s life so it has been very sad.”

Bam says voting is an affirmation of democracy. And that it provides dignity to all citizens irrespective of age or income.
She highlighted the increase in the number of independent candidates contesting this year’s polls, saying that it was a sign of a developing and healthy democracy.

“In the beginning many of us were new into a democracy, we didn’t understand how you become independent what does that mean. Do you just go on your own? No money to do that and when you look at the figures the number of people in this province who have become independent it is a sign of growth, a sign that people are now ready to decide about the leaders they want.”

Bam says while she is known for her time at the helm of the IEC, she is now comfortably happy with her role as a proud South African citizen.


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