IEC municipal elections announcement

By Drum Digital
14 January 2016

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has announced that registration to vote at the 2016 municipal elections will be open 8am to 5pm over the weekend of Saturday 5 March and Sunday 5 March.

By Ayanda Sitole

The  Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has announced that registration to vote at the 2016 municipal elections will be open 8am to 5pm over the weekend of Saturday 5 March and Sunday 6 March.

The IEC estimates that there will be over 22 600 voting stations which is a significant improvement from the 20 859 voting stations in the 2011 municipal elections.

South Africans are encouraged to ensure that they are registered in the correct voting district where they ordinarily reside.

“Registering to vote outside of your residential area is illegal,’ says Chairperson of the IEC, Glen Mashinini.

He says the IEC is going above and beyond their mandate to ensure that this year’s elections are free, fair and transparent, citing the recent judgement by the Constitutional Court that found the 2011 by-elections in the Tlhokwe municipality to have been rigged after an investigation revealed that residents were encouraged by ANC members and IEC officials to vote outside their district.

Residents said they were recruited by ANC members, bribed with blankets, t-shirts and caps and were picked up by a bus carrying other ANC supporters.

“Bussing people to the elections is not a new phenomenon in South Africa, however, bussing in voters is a sign that there are those who want to manipulate voting outcomes,” he adds.

Mashinini encouraged South Africans to participate in the upcoming elections despite the perception that  municipal elections are not as important as national elections.

“These elections are important because municipal leaders have a direct impact on your community and how you receive service delivery,” he says, “some people think their vote won’t count but I dare you to sleep in a room with one mosquito. You will feel the impact.”

Terry Tselane, vice chairperson of the IEC said they would be campaigning aggressively through the use of the radio, television, billboards and social media to attract voters.

“80% of eligible voters are people below the age of 30,” he says, “young people are important and we will be engaging them on social media.”

While Tselane says the IEC is not obligated to verify people’s residential addresses, IEC staff will be going out into areas without formal addresses and identify landmarks that can be used as a residential address.

“People will fill out affirmation forms which are similar to an affidavit, which we will use to determine people’s addresses so that if we find that we have been given the wrong information, it will be constituted as fraud.”

The IEC says they have recruited over 220 000 officials to assist with the running of a smooth election.

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