IEC voting station. (Elmarie Jack, News24)
Durban – With less than 100 days to go until the 2016 municipal elections, the IEC says it is confident it will deliver free and fair pols on August 3.
Independent Electoral Commission South Africa’s Kate Bapela told News24 that preparations for the upcoming local government elections were proceeding according to schedule, with 26 332 278 voters registered as of April 26.
Bapela said preparations, which included scanning and capturing the registration applications received during the final registration weekend, presented various challenges.
"Most of these challenges are logistical. For example we need to print and distribute approximately 4 500 unique ballot papers to over 22 600 voting stations, but the commission is dealing with all the challenges and it is confident of delivering a free and fair election on August 3," said Bapela.
The commission launched a new online candidate submission system in Mpumalanga this week and was currently introducing the new system to political parties.
"This is planned to help the parties familiarise themselves with the system. The system is scheduled to be released on the commission’s website next week for parties and independent candidates to further familiarise themselves with it ahead of its full activation after proclamation."
She said, in the interim, parties would be able to use the system to capture their candidate lists, but would not be able to submit the lists until the election was proclaimed and the timetable announced.
Bapela said people who had not yet registered to vote could still do so or update their registration details at their local IEC offices.
News24 previously reported that the Constitutional Court had ruled in November last year that the 2013 Tlokwe by-elections were not free and fair. It ruled that all new voters who registered had to have address details, or sufficient details of where they lived, to place them in a voting district.
In February, the Electoral Court halted the Tlokwe by-elections after six independent candidates complained that 4 198 addresses were missing from the new voters' roll.
The IEC is expected to get clarity on the matter from the Constitutional Court on May 9.
"The Electoral Commission has appealed against a ruling by the Electoral Court handed down on February 23… the electoral commission has approached the Constitutional Court to provide clarity on the status of those voters who appeared on the voters’ roll prior to November 30, 2015, whose addresses are not on the voters’ roll," said Bapela.