AfricaScope SA successfully assists in monitoring the 2019 elections

Conducting a survey in one day to monitor the 2019 national & provincial elections in South Africa is one of the most difficult surveys one can conduct. There are no second chances, you only have one day to get it done.

AfricaScope SA worked with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in providing the data collection technology to capture more than 14 000 interviews from close to 301 voting stations across the country as part of their Election Satisfaction Survey.

The HSRC team worked closely with staff at AfricaScope SA (image below) on the 8 May 2019 to monitor real time the interviews being done at each of the voting stations.

Data was exported to the HSRC on the next day so that the HSRC could prepare a report and present it to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for the closing ceremony of the election.

The survey showed that democracy is alive and well in South Africa. However, it is our opinion that South Africa must not get complacent about ensuring easy access to voting stations, ensuring proper governance & accountability structures as well as security for voters.

AfricaScope also worked with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on their Exit Poll conducted mainly in Gauteng with selected voting stations in seven other provinces.

Katiso Rachabane of AfricaScope SA took overall management of the projects. This included setting up more than 436 tablets & Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) for use at the voting stations. SIM cards with sufficient data to collect the interviews were set up in each of the PDAs.

On the 8 May the AfricaScope SA team ensured that all the PDAs were working and any problems encountered were dealt with.

Gontse Molekwa of AfricaScope SA assisted with the training and monitoring of the UJ Exit Poll on the 8 May. Craig Schwabe assisted throughout the implementation of the two studies. Further support was provided by Thoriso Rachabane, Teboho Tlhola & Matthew Jardine on setting up the data collection technology.

Providing technical support and data collection technology for surveys that are conducted in just one day are the toughest that can be done, requiring proper project management, daily oversight and a team approach.

Electronic data collection technology enables the interview responses to be collected and analysed in a few days. Monitoring of interviews is key and ensures that the data from selected voting stations as well as the number of completed interviews are being done. In projects of this nature trouble shooting is a key part of the project management.

This survey would never have been successful without the time & dedication of the professional interviewers of the HSRC and the students from UJ that conducted interviews at the different voting stations.

All the voters that participated at all the voting stations must also be thanked for their willingness to give of their time and give their thoughts and insights on the 2019 national & provincial elections.

Democracy is truly alive in our country. The government, political; parties & the IEC should continue to look at ways of encouraging people to vote. They should also be looking at aspects of the election that may be deteriorating. Communication to all stakeholders but especially citizens must be a priority in the coming months.