Analysis of the policy and process of voter registration in South Africa in the 1999 general elections

Mlitwa, Nhlanhla Boyfriend Wilton (2000-04)

Thesis (M.Phil.)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The democratic order is still in its early evolutionary stages in South Africa. Although the success of the 1994 democratic elections kindled hope for a promising future, democracy needs to be safeguarded if it is to develop in South Africa. Safeguarding a democracy requires a constant scrutiny of governing policies and procedures to ensure that they remain conducive to its positive development. Of fundamental importance to the transmission of democracy is an electoral system and its policies. Any electiongoverning policy that reduces public confidence in the electoral system is not conducive to the development of a democracy. This study analyses the policy of voter registration as it directly impacts on the format of an election. Since this policy is being applied for the first time in the short history legitimate democratic elections in South Africa, the study looks beyond the noble objectives as given by the policymakers. The lEC and the Government argue that the policy is aimed at improving the legitimacy of the electoral system by eliminating the ID related forms of electoral fraud. The significance of the study lies in its critical analysis of the actual policymaking process of this legislation, as well as its implementation. In order to assess the democratic legitimacy of the policymaking stage, the study takes a closer look at the roles of all the stakeholders in the policymaking process. Further, the study describes the constitutional controversies of the provisions of the policy, as well as its actual registration process. The understanding behind the latter description is that a policy is of no use if it cannot be implemented. In short, by describing, explaining and analysing the policy from its historical, legislative, and implementation phases, the study gives an insight into how this new policy relates to the development of the South African democracy. Although this study found no conclusive evidence of the negative impact of the policy on the outcome of the election, the nature of debates, the practical difficulties of implementation by the IEC, as well as the Court debates have all raised new questions that could require further analysis.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die demokratiese bewind in Suid-Afrika is tans nog in die vroeë stadia van ontwikkeling. Hoewel die sukses van die demokratiese verkiesings in 1994 die vertroue in die moontlikheid van 'n belowende toekoms laat styg het, moet voortdurend gewaak word teen afbreek van die demokrasie in Suid-Afrika, en ruimte gemaak word vir die verdere ontwikkeling daarvan. Die beveiliging van 'n demokrasie verg aanhoudende noukeurige beskouing van die regering se beleid, en die uitvoer daarvan, om te verseker dat dit die positiewe ontwikkeling van die demokrasie bevorder. Die verkiesingstelsel en beleid is van fundamentele belang vir die vestiging van demokrasie. 'n Beleid wat die algemene vertroue in die verkiesingstelsel benadeel, sal nie die ontwikkeling van enige demokrasie bevorder nie. Hierdie studie ontleed die direkte invloed van die kieserregistrasie-beleid op die formaat van die 1999 verkiesing. Aangesien hierdie beleid vir die eerste keer in die kort geskiedenis van Suid-Afrikaanse verkiesings toegepas word, kyk die studie verder as die edele doel beoog deur die skeppers van die beleid. Die OVK en die Regering beweer dat die beleid gerig is daarop om die regverdigheid van die verkiesingstelsel te verbeter deur die uitskakeling van ID-verbonde verkiesingsbedrog. Die studie is veral belangrik in die kritiese ontleding van die skeppingsproses van die beleid self, sowel as die implementering daarvan. Om die demokratiese regverdigheid van die skeppingstadium van die beleid te kan beoordeel, val die soeklig veralop die rol van alle deelnemers aan hierdie proses. Die grondwetlike probleme met dele van die beleid sowel as die registrasieproses word beskryf. Hierdie beskrywing word gedoen vanuit die oogpunt dat 'n beleid geen doel kan dien tensy dit geïmplementeer kan word nie. Kortliks, deur die beleid te beskryf, te verduidelik en te ontleed in sy historiese, wetgewende en implementeringsfases, gee die studie 'n insig in die verhouding van hierdie nuwe beleid tot die ontwikkeling van die Suid-Afrikaanse demokrasie. Hoewel geen afdoende bewyse van 'n negatiewe invloed van die beleid op die uitkoms van die verkiesing deur hierdie studie bewys is nie, is sake wat verdere ontleding kan verg geopper in verband met die aard van die besprekings om die beleid, die praktiese moeilikhede van implementering deur die OVK, asook die besprekings in die hof.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/51586
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