The Electoral Commission is a permanent body created by the constitution to promote and safeguard representative democracy in South Africa. The organisation is tasked with a variety of functions, including running National and Provincial Elections, Local Government Elections and by-elections. It also has a number of important duties pertaining to the elections, such as compiling and maintaining a register of parties, undertaking electoral research, educating voters and declaring the results of elections within seven days.

All of these tasks require continuous uptime regardless of unstable utility power situations. When the IEC’s Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) batteries reached end of life, they required the replacement as a matter of routine maintenance. The IEC, through a bid, made use of reseller Sage Computer Technologies and APC replacement batteries supplied by distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC) to provide the solution.

“In seven of our nine provincial offices, the batteries in our UPS systems had reached end of life. We were beginning to experience downtime during power failures, and were risking not only lost productivity, but also the potential of losing data on our servers. If we are unable to work, we cannot serve the electorate, and this situation needed to be rectified. Sage Computer Technologies won the bid to provide replacement RBC 44 Battery Cartridges in our APC UPS solutions,” says Libisi Maphanga, CIO of the IEC.

The IEC makes use of APC UPS systems across all of its offices, having standardised on this reliable and world-renowned platform several years ago. The RBC 44 cartridges, replacement batteries for specific UPS models, are maintenance-free and leak proof, as they are a sealed Lead-Acid battery with suspended electrolyte. This not only enhances safety but also improves longevity, giving the batteries an expected lifespan of between three and five years depending on usage. The batteries are also hot-swappable, ensuring clean, uninterrupted power to protected equipment while batteries are being replaced, minimising network downtime.

“DCC, a distributor of APC products in South Africa, was able to provide Sage Computer Technologies with the replacement batteries the IEC required, The order was placed with DCC and delivered in short order, enabling Sage Computer Technologies to deliver on time and within budget,” says Elrica Quick, APC Product Specialist at DCC.

Sage Computer Technologies was awarded the tender based not only on meeting the price criteria, but also stood apart through the comprehensive technical response provided, which outlined the entire procedure for the replacement of the batteries with minimal downtime.

Our recommendation was to supply, decommission, replace and install the batteries in one province at a time. Furthermore, we recommended completing the project, signing off and testing on site to ensure everything was fully installed and functional before moving on to the next office. A checklist and a printout of the test results was provided after every installation. We ensured that the old batteries were removed and sent for safe disposal and refurbishment to minimise environmental impact,” explains Sarmashni Naidu, CEO at Sage Computer Technologies.

The project began in October 2014 and was completed earlier this year. The IEC is now able to work through periodic power outages, without losing productivity or risking critical data loss and hardware failure.