GIPPS: Workshops, symposia and special events

EISA's Governance Institutions and Political Processes Department has established itself as a leading thought-leader in different areas including governance, political reform, elections, gender parity and institutional oversight. As such, GIPPs frequently gets invited to workshops, symposia, conferences as well as other fora in order to submit ideas or present proposals with regards to various topics and events.

2021


Ethiopia Political Party Poll-watcher and Legal Officer Trainings

During the reporting period, GIPPS held 6 training workshops in Addis Ababa for party poll watcher Master Trainers and Legal Officers. GIPPS staff member Sandile Khuboni was assisted by STEP Head of Mission, Mr Justin Doua to train 13 political parties, 68 party coordinators and 19 legal officers prior to the Ethiopian Elections. This is EISA's contribution in the partnership with the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) programme.

Training materials including training videos and manuals translated into Amharic and also available in English were disseminated to all participating parties.

Moseneke Report Written and Oral Submissions in South Africa

May - Jun 2021

A joint contribution from GIPPS and EPP staff, coordinated by the GIPPS Head of Department responded to a written invitation from the South Africa Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke who lead the enquiry, to provide his team with a written and oral submission on whether or not the South African Local Government Elections could take place as planned for 27 October 2021 due to the COVID19 pandemic. EISA's submission was submitted and presented on the IEC website, and EISA GIPPS staff Grant Masterson and Sandile Khuboni made oral submissions to the Moseneke enquiry during the oral hearings.

The final Moseneke report was completed and cited directly from EISA's submission on key findings, most notably that "while delaying elections is strongly discouraged, should this be necessary, then the duration of the delay to the elections should be limited to as short a timespan as possible, and should only be delayed once."

During a joint radio interview with Grant Masterson on July 31 on Channel Africa, IEC Deputy CEO Mashego Shiburi verbally acknowledge the contribution EISA made to the final report, noting that several key elements of EISA's submission were included in Moseneke's final report and that these had been extremely helpful to the IEC in articulating the issue at hand. See www.elections.org.za

Electoral Reform in South Africa

16 Mar 2021

The Inclusive Society Institute Panel (ISI) completed its work with the participation of EISA staff, with the final report submitted to Parliament. The work was submitted in the name of ISI, with the acknowledgements noting the participation in preparing the report of all panel members, which included EISA's Grant Masterson. ISI is a South African NGO which approached EISA's Executive Director to participate in their independent process towards a submission to Parliament on electoral system reform. These reforms have become necessary as a result of a Constitutional Court judgement in 2020 that requires the law to be amended to allow for independent candidates to contest National elections (independent candidates are already accommodated in local elections). Roelf Mayer is the Chairperson of the ISI board, and past EISA board members and staff, Jorgen Elklit, Dren Nupen and Ebrahim Fakir were also part of the panel.

In response to a request for a briefing on electoral reforms from the ad hoc Committee on Electoral Reform of the Home Affairs Department of the South African Parliament, Grant Masterson briefed its members on various electoral systems on 16 March 2021 via Zoom meeting. The briefing covered the broad electoral system types, strengths and weaknesses of these models, and covered some practical examples of hybrid/mixed models in practice.

2020


Inclusive Society Institute Panel on Electoral Reform in South Africa

Aug - Oct 2020

The GIPPS Senior Programme Manager, Grant Masterson acted as proxy for the EISA Executive Director in four online panel discussions to develop proposals in response to the Constitutional Court judgement requiring that South Africa's National Assembly allow independent candidates to contest national and provincial elections. This decision has been deferred for 24 months to give Parliament time to amend the necessary legislation. Meetings were held on the 24 August, 7 September, 28 September, and 16 October with two further meetings to discuss the final report to be submitted for consideration by South Africa's Parliament in 2021.

Inclusive Society Institute Panel on Electoral Reform in South Africa

20 Jul and 3 Aug 2020

The GIPPS Senior Programme Manager, Grant Masterson acted as proxy for the EISA Executive Director, in two online panel discussions to develop proposals in response to the Constitutional Court judgement requiring that South Africa's National Assembly allow independent candidates to contest national and provincial elections. This decision has been deferred for 24 months to give Parliament time to amend the necessary legislation.

Two meetings have been held (20 July and 3 August), with the stated goal of producing a set of proposals for consideration by the National Assembly on how to adjust South Africa's electoral system to give effect to the judgement and strengthen the existing electoral processes. Further meetings are planned at regular two-week intervals for the next two months. This is a high-level panel with rich and varied experiences in legal, electoral and political processes, including former MPs, lawmakers, judges and former EISA board member Jorgen Elklit and former EISA GIPPS manager, Ebrahim Fakir.

Social Media and Elections Conference

2 - 5 Mar 2020

EISA attended a Social Media and Elections Conference co-hosted by the IEC and UNDP in Cape town. Participants were drawn from academics, heads of non-governmental organization, representatives of international organisations and multilateral bodies, representatives of social media companies as well as representatives of African EMBs. The main objective of the conference was to provide a platform for electoral practitioners to unpack the rise of social media as well as its implications for elections.

19th International Electoral Affairs Symposium

17 - 19 Feb 2020

GIPPS attended the 19th International Electoral Affairs Symposium co-hosted by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICSP) and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC-SA) in Durban. The Electoral Affairs Symposium enabled representatives working in the field of elections from around the world to share best practices of addressing the challenges faced by Election Management Bodies (EMBs) whilst providing a networking platform that is vital in improving professional development and international standards. EISA extended its role in the symposium by making a presentation on Cybersecurity in elections.

Briefing session on political party funding

6 Feb 2020

GIPPS represented EISA at a briefing session on political party funding held in Cape Town. The briefing session was co-hosted by IEC-SA and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC). The overall objective of the session was to brief civil society organisations on the findings of the study visit to the UK in order to learn how their political party funding laws work. The IEC further briefed civil society that they were now at an advanced stage in terms of implementation of the new Political Party Funding Act (PPFA) and its accompanying regulation. The IEC also alerted civil society about several gaps in the PPFA which limited its capacity to draft the regulations. The IEC believes that civil society can play a more active role to legislature to ensure that the gaps are addressed. The position of the IEC remains that although the PPFA has many gaps and challenges, it is still better to implement in order to protect citizens right to know about private donors that fund political parties. GIPPS will use the findings from the brief to draft an informative article on the PPFA Act and what the challenges in its implementation and the identified gaps mean for the future of South Africa's elections.

2019


South African 2019 Post-Election Review Conference

8 - 9 Jul 2019

GIPPS, in partnership with the EPP department, facilitated a Post-Election Review of the South African 2019 elections with a stellar line-up of speakers from the IEC, South African academia, the South African Bar Association, the media and governance institutions. A detailed draft analysis of the 2019 elections was shared with the presenters prior to the meeting and they were encouraged to engage with and critique the draft report in order to refine the final analysis of the 2019 South African elections.

During the course of the conference, a consensus developed around two dominant narratives: (1) the widely held narrative that South African politics was becoming polarised was dispelled in favour of the idea that all parties, whether deliberately or inadvertently, appear to have lurched towards the right of the political spectrum (including so-called workers and revolutionary parties); and (2) significant concern over the really tepid voter turnout figures recorded during the 2019 elections, primarily due to poor political party performance in mobilising and engaging non-voters.

The EISA elections Resource Centre

Mar - May 2019

The GIPPS team set up an 'Elections Resource Centre' (ERC) for the 2019 South Africa elections. The ERC functioned as a publications unit and produced seven election briefs, facilitated round-table dialogues and acted as resource persons for media and members of the diplomatic core. The first four editions of the ERC brief were printed prior to the 8 May 2019 election date and were disseminated at the IEC National Election Results Centre in Centurion to local and international media, the IEC and political parties present at the venue. Three editions were produced after the election, looking at the election day as well as the resulta and emergent issues. The ERC research factored into the Post-Election Review Conference hosted in Johannesburg on 8-9 July 2019.

The Election Resource Centre

The largest project coordinated by GIPPS in 2019 was the establishment of an Election Resource Centre for the South African elections. This project tapped into the enthusiasm and energy of a team of young South African graduates to document and analyse the South African 2019 National and Provincial elections and disseminate this information for use by media, political parties and voters. The team of 7 researchers, mentored by GIPPS staff and management, produced 7 weekly digests covering electoral campaigning, candidate nominations, a closer look at the Independent Electoral Commission, as well as election day and analysis of the results. During the election, the ERC team relocated from EISA’s Johannesburg office to the IEC’s election results centre in Pretoria, where ERC materials were extensively distributed to the South African and international media, IEC officials and observer groups in attendance. A post-election review conference held in July 2019 presented the extensive research and findings of the ERC team for wider consultation and discussions with South African political parties, IEC commissioners, media, academia and civil society. The ERC publications were extensively used by international observer missions to South Africa, including the AU, SADC and EISA EOMs. ERC team members and GIPPS staff gave 23 media interviews to local and international media during the 2019 elections, some of these in seTswana, isiXhosa and isiZulu.

2018


GIPPs team develops concept note for 2018 EISA Annual Symposium

20 - 21 Nov 2018

The GIPPs team developed a concept note and draft programme for the 2018 EISA Symposium on the subject of social cohesion as a means of building stronger democracies in Africa. The Symposium took place on 20-21 November at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Participants examined various definitions of social cohesion before exploring the concept as it relates to informal democracy, trends in a globalising world (specifically migration related issues), socio-economic issues and the state and elections and cohesion. Although there were fewer participants than in previous years, the Symposium attracted several experts in the field, which allowed for enriching discussions.