The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s), Dr Surenda (Colin) Thakur is breathing a sigh of relief after a voting expert, Dr John Maphephe completed his doctoral thesis under his supervision. Thakur was Maphephe’s co-supervisor and is ecstatic after his hard work and sleepless nights have finally paid off.
Maphephe who is also the Secretary-General of the Association of Churches of the Evangelical Movement in Lesotho conducted his research on, “The Use of Internet-Based Technologies in Elections Management Processes in South Africa towards the design of framework: A Case Example of the Gauteng Province.”
Thakur who is also a digital activist from the Faculty of Management Sciences at DUT said, Maphephe’s thesis makes an important contribution to the subject of digitalization of the electoral process in an increasingly connected world. He said Maphephe developed a generic framework to guide the effectiveness of Internet-based technologies towards safeguarding elections management. Maphephe apparently chose Gauteng, because it is the economic heartland and the most popular province in South Africa.
“The main findings of the study pointed to a significant correlation between the use of Internet-based technologies and election integrity in Gauteng. Based on the results, the study developed and investigated four predictive models to estimate the integrity of elections outcomes through technology integration,” explained Thakur.
He further stated that Maphephe’s thesis submits that the foreseeable Internet-based technology future may well support automated, digitized elections procedures and processes in four key areas of an electoral process, namely voter registration, voter identification, voting procedures and real-time results.
Giving a brief background on Maphephe, Thakur said he is a reverend and member of The Full Gospel Church of God in Lesotho. He described Maphephe as no stranger to the world of Elections, stating that he has been working in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector for more than two decades, specializing in the use of ICT to secure safeguarding of democratic elections.
Thakur said with his assistance Maphephe consulted for the United Nations, the African Union and several countries. He said they have worked on multiple international electoral voting projects together.
“This work is important because we live in a digital world and are starting to experience digital democracy. Dr Maphephe showed resilience particularly as he lived in the beautiful rural city of Ladybrand, Free State which made communication very difficult. Prof Rishi Balkaran (co-supervisor) and I are delighted and wish Dr Rev Maphephe well,” said Thakur.
Commenting on his achievement Maphephe said he would like to thank his co-supervisors Prof Balkaran and Dr Thakur for their continual support. He said his PhD will provide him with the platform to continue his work.
Pictured: Dr John Maphephe who recently completed his doctoral thesis