Funding not to blame for election issues: Treasury

 ·31 May 2024

National Treasury says that budget allocations for the Electoral Commission (IEC) for the 2024 General Elections were adequate and in line with the commission’s needs – countering reports that it was under-funding that led to election glitches and delays.

The IEC this week faced mounting criticism from political parties and voters for being inadequately prepared for the 2024 elections, with technical problems on-site at voting stations leading to long queues and extremely slow processes which hampered the voting process.

Some voting stations suffered delays that kept voters standing in queues for up to 10 hours, while others had limited staff and booths serving thousands of voters.

Media reports blamed budget cuts to the IEC, while the commission itself chalked it up to workers and volunteers not being able to handle the problems on-site.

Treasury, however, has dismissed the budgeting issue.

“While budget reductions were announced in the 2024 Budget to address the country’s unsustainable debt burden, measures were taken to specifically ensure that requirements for the elections are adequately resourced,” it said.

As part of the 2024 Budget process, the National Treasury continuously engaged with the IEC on its funding requirements for the 2024 National and Provincial Elections.

“The National Treasury’s engagements with the IEC confirmed that the costs related to elections can be accommodated within the entity’s baseline through surplus retention.

“During the 2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget process, the IEC indicated that they will not require any additional allocation for election-related activities provided that approval is granted for them to retain accumulated surpluses of R1.5 billion. This approval was granted by the National Treasury.”

In the 2023/24 financial year, the Electoral Commission was allocated R2.232 billion.

The commission is allocated R2.302 billion for the 2024/25 financial year of which R322.2 million was transferred during April 2024. A further R1.040 billion is being transferred between May and June 2024 to the commission.

“Assertions in the media about the budget baseline trends of the Electoral Commission reflect an incomplete reading of the Budget documentation and a misunderstanding of both the budget process and the nature of the challenges faced by the IEC and experienced by voters during Election Day,” National Treasury said.

The 2024 Budget Review outlined these measures, including:

  • Reversing spending reductions to the IEC, making an additional R250 million available compared to the 2023 MTBPS estimates;
  • Allowing the IEC to retain its accumulated surpluses of R1.5 billion; and
  • New additional allocations of R350 million for the security of the election process.

With SA News

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