Mogoeng Mogoeng. Picture: SUPPLIED
Mogoeng Mogoeng. Picture: SUPPLIED

Potential commissioners of the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) were on Monday grilled on a range of topics, including how to fix the country’s voters roll.

The interviews, meant to fill three vacant commissioner positions, were conducted by a panel led by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in Midrand.

The voters roll was one of the key issues the panel asked aspiring commissioners about.

The Constitutional Court in 2016 held that the failure to compile a voters roll with available addresses was inconsistent with the Constitution and was invalid. But the declaration of invalidity was suspended until June 30 2018.

The IEC has until the end of June to ensure it has recorded outstanding addresses on the voters roll. It has now had to approach the court for an extension, saying it will not be able to meet the deadline.

If the IEC is unable to clean up the voters roll and the top court refuses to give it an extension, the commission could be forced to remove about 1.3-million people from the voters roll.

One of the questions asked of candidates was what they would have done differently in fixing the voters roll.

"I don’t know if it is this difficult but frankly I was telling somebody... All you have to do is draw up a list of numbers for whatever informal settlement and then you identify unemployed people, give them paint that is not easy to remove and give them a list of numbers that apply to that location one to 1,000 or 2,000," Mogoeng said during the interview process.

He said there were a number of unemployed people who were educated and all the IEC had to do was offer them what he called a "patriotic" salary and ask them to mark houses.

"What’s the problem? You just mark it up, record it and in no time you know in this informal settlement at No1 Diepsloot it’s so and so [who lives there], end of story. Why is it so difficult?" Mogoeng said the same could be done in rural villages.

He also indicated that the IEC should be on the ground visiting these areas instead of expecting people to come to them to check their details on the roll.

"They don’t want anything from you as the IEC, why should they come to you, you should go to them," he said.

Mogoeng, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, deputy chairwoman of the Commission on Gender Equality, Tamara Mathebula, and South African Human Rights Commission commissioner Angie Makwetla are interviewing 26 candidates for the vacancy.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za