Peter Harris

Chief Director: Monitoring Directorate of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) 1994 Election
In 1994, Harris was given the impossible job of in just three months flat, preparing a country for its first democratic elections. If it’s easy to see the past as a done deal, that it was inevitable that peace would come to South Africa, Harris’s book, ‘Birth’ shows how precarious the whole process was. Alongside some of the biggest bombs in the country’s history being exploded during this period, an attempt was made to break into the electronic counting system of the election, the supervision of which was Harris’s responsibility.
One of many unbelievable moments occurred when a whole political party decided to stand a mere eight days before the election. This suddenly required the sticking on of 80 million stickers bearing that party’s candidate on 80 million voting slips. Other last minute hurdles included the overnight mass-production of invisible ink to restock the supplies that would cut down on electoral fraud.
The award winning author was born in Durban and he started his working life in law. It was this that led to his secondment to the National Peace Accord, and to his later heading of the Monitoring Directorate of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for the 1994 election.
After, he returned to law and did international consulting for the UN as an election operations expert in amongst other places, Mexico and Haiti.