Benedict van der Ross
Commissioner, 1994 Elections, Independent Electoral Commission, South Africa
Management of poll workers, Vote Counting, Election Schedules, Dispute Resolution
Kriegler, South Africa, vote counting, staff performance, results declaration, recruitment, polling supplies, monitoring, election schedules, election management body, dispute resolution, communications
City Lodge Hotel,
Tue Feb 9 2010
Ben van der Ross discusses his role as one of the 11 South African commissioners who served on the country’s Independent Electoral Commission in 1994. He traces the story of the election from the commission’s first meeting in December 1993 through to the election’s closing moments, when problems with vote-counting procedures threatened to derail the country’s transition to democracy. He outlines the many challenges the election commission faced including deep mistrust across the political board, a very tight time frame, continuing party negotiations over the electoral rules and the reluctance of one of the main parties to participate. Van der Ross highlights the vital role played by the commission’s chairman, Johann Kriegler. He also discusses how the commission overcame logistical hurdles.
Ben van der Ross was working at a South African social development agency, the Independent Development Trust, when he was nominated to be a commissioner for South Africa’s first fully inclusive elections in 1994. After the elections, van der Ross pursued a career in the private sector.