Each political party participating in an election can appoint two agents to be present at a voting or counting venue.
Who can be a party agent?
To be an agent, you must -
- be a South African citizen, and
- not be a candidate for that election.
- be issued with an appointment form by your party and a notice given to the Presiding Officer (party agent appointments can be revoked in a similar fashion using other forms).
- A party agent must:
- wear prescribed tags that state “Party Agent” and the party they represent
- communicate with the Presiding Officer or his or her deputy, and not with ordinary voting officers
- not display or distribute any information about their party in any form, nor may they wear or carry any item that displays a party logo, picture or sign
- comply with any orders given by the presiding officers
- not attempt to induce, influence or persuade a person to vote or not to vote
- not interfere with the voting processes in any way, or with voters in the station, but may lodge objections with, or bring any irregularities to the attention of, the presiding officer.
- be allowed to observe proceedings at each of the following points:
- The voters’ roll station
- The ballot paper station
- The inking station
- not try to witness the the marking of the ballot.
- At least two party agents must be allowed to observe the application proceedings present in the voting station must in terms of section 24A of the Act.
- Party agents will be accommodated as set out above on a rotational basis agreed upon amongst themselves, or should they fail to do so, as directed by the presiding or deputy presiding officer. The allocation of party agents as set out above must be in a manner that ensures all parties have an equitable opportunity of observing the process.
While party agents are important to ensure that the process is free and fair, it does not invalidate the proceedings if there are no party agents present at a voting station.
Party agents’ role
- Check and verify the seals on the ballot boxes to ensure they are intact (i.e. unbroken) before the boxes are opened.
- Witness the process whereby the status of questionable ballot paper is determined.
- Witness the completion of the result forms and add their signatures.
- Copy the results for that voting station.
- No communication with people outside the venue is allowed until the results are finalised.