SA not ready for e-voting - IEC

IEC Chairperson Pansy Tlakula says she fears introducing electronic voting in South Africa.

IEC Chairperson Pansy Tlakula says she fears introducing electronic voting in South Africa.

CAPE TOWN - Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Chairperson Pansy Tlakula on Monday said the Kenyan elections showed what could happen when technology fails.

To avoid the chaos of the 2007 election, Kenya opted for a system where voter identity documents would be checked electronically and results transmitted to Nairobi through text messages.

However, the election was characterised by crashing software, glitches and an overloaded SMS network.

The IEC is examining whether or not South Africa should change to an electronic voting system.

It is currently hosting a seminar in Cape Town, where the issue is being debated.

Tlakula said what happened in Kenya scared her.

"What I saw in Kenya put the fear of the Lord in me as far as trusting machines is concerned."

She believes South Africa is not ready for e-voting.

"If we are going to be introducing any electronic voting or counting [system], we'll probably have to start very slow with a small pilot [project], if at all the commission is going to take that direction."

Uhuru Kenyatta narrowly won the Kenyan elections, but Raila Odinga has indicated he plans to challenge the results in court.