Telkom is the main provider of telecommunications services to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), for this week’s municipal elections. It will also offer services to broadcasters and media channels.
Telkom’s role before, during and after the 2011 municipal elections on 18 May 2011 is to provide telecommunications infrastructure to all of the IEC-controlled election-related points of presence (PoPs) throughout South Africa.
Telkom will, in effect enable the safe and secure delivery of ballot results from 20 864 polling stations around the country to the National Results Centre (NRC) at the Tshwane Show Grounds, via 350 Municipal Election Offices (MEOs), nine Provincial Results Centres (PRCs) and the IEC’s Headquarters (IEC HQ).
Godfrey Ntoele, Telkom’s managing executive for large & government business services, says: “The elections do not happen only on election day. We have partnered the IEC in the registration process and the compilation of the voters roll, which started some time ago, and we continue providing communication services until long after election day is over.
“On the two registration weekends in February and March, in preparation for the 2011 local government municipal elections, we provided the infrastructure to register over 23,6-million voters successfully. Telkom is committed to providing the most secure and stable telecommunications solution for the entire election process from start to finish, ensuring that every vote is counted,” says Ntoele.
The solution requires access for the IEC’s wide area network (WAN) through Telkom’s virtual private network services (VPNS) platform that uses multiple access media including VSAT technology, Diginet/Martis, ATM, Metro LAN, Telkom’s ADSL and ISDN (Primary and Basic Rate) architecture.
Cybernest, Telkom’s data centre operation enables disaster recovery by working as a mirror image of the IEC’s head office. Telkom has also provided the infrastructure for the IEC call centre in Centurion which was used during the voter registration process. This call centre will remain operational over the entire election period.
The integrated Telkom-designed voice and data solution to be used by the IEC during the 2011 municipal elections will help speed up some processes. Eliminating much of the earlier manual logistics and processing, the telecommunications solution assists in streamlining efficiencies in a cost-effective manner for the IEC.
South Africans from all over the country will on 18 May 2011 make their way to the polling/voting station closest to where they reside. Their votes will be cast, ballot papers gathered and transferred to the applicable Municipal Election Office.
Counting of the votes will occur at the MEOs. The count data is thereafter scanned and transferred electronically to the Provincial Results Centre where data for all the MEO’s in the applicable province is collated, figures consolidated and in turn transferred electronically to the IEC headquarters, and simultaneously to the disaster recovery site, for final collation and consolidation. At almost every stage of the vote counting process, the data is transferred to and presented in real time at the National Result Centre which is situated at the Tshwane Showgrounds.