The Electoral Commission (IEC) and the University of South Africa have extended by three years a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance knowledge and skills development in the field of electoral democracy.
The MOU was signed on Monday in Pretoria by IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini and Unisa principal and vice chancellor, Professor Mandla Makhanya.
The MOU seeks to strengthen knowledge and expertise in electoral democracy through the development of education and training programmes for election practitioners in Africa.
It also seeks to identify research opportunities to further enhance and promote democratic electoral principles, legislation and practices.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mashinini said the partnership with the continent’s leading distance-learning institution offered opportunities to expand knowledge and professionalism within electoral management bodies throughout Africa.
“The continued entrenchment of electoral democracy in our continent is an essential ingredient for the overall advancement of Africa and its people,” Mashinini said.
Makhanya said the agreement signalled the continuation of long-standing cooperation between Unisa and the Electoral Commission in the field of electoral management expertise.
Through a strategic partnership between the Electoral Commission, the Institute for African Renaissance Studies at Unisa and with funding and support from USAID, the Management of Democratic Elections in Africa (MDEA) certificate programme has over the past seven years been able to impart skills, knowledge and expertise in the field of electoral democracy management to hundreds of electoral practitioners from all around Africa.
“The MOU sets the framework for the joint development and implementation of mutually beneficial programmes, which will help enhance professional electoral management capabilities in South Africa and beyond,” said Makhanya.