Launch of 2016 municipal elections

2016-01-20 06:00

DATES for the registration of new and existing voters to check and update, if required, were announced last Thursday. The first registration weekend will be Saturday 5 March and Sunday 6 March.

The date for elections will only be known later when it is proclaimed by the Minister of Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), David Van Rooyen.

In terms of the Constitution, the municipal elections must take place between 18 May and 16 August – the 90-day window provided at the conclusion of five-year term of office of municipal councillors elected in 2011 and in any subsequent by-elections.

All eligible voters (South African citizens aged 18 and older) should ensure they are registered in the correct voting district where they ordinarily reside. Unlike national and provincial elections, voting in a municipal election is only allowed at the voting district in which you are registered to vote.

Voters who are already registered can SMS their ID number to 32810 (cost R1) to receive confirmation of their voter registration details, including the name of their voting station.

Voters need to take with them their green bar-coded ID book, smart ID card or a valid temporary ID certificate to the voting station. No other forms of ID are accepted for voter registration.

The Electoral Commission reminds voters that it is a criminal offence to knowingly register in a voting district in which the voter is not ordinarily resident.

A key focus of the campaign is encouraging first-time voters to register and participate. The Electoral Commission statistics for registration show that voter registration currently stands at 24.98 million against a voting age population currently estimated at about 34.1 million by Statistics South Africa.

Of the approximately 9.1 million eligible voters who are not currently registered, more than 80% are under the age of 35.

Almost 1 700 education fieldworkers have also been deployed across all municipalities to engage in voter education initiatives.

A further number of about 50 000 temporary registration officials have been recruited and trained to staff voting stations for the registration weekend. As far as possible, officials have been recruited from the local areas in which they will work to ensure they have the requisite local geographical knowledge of the area to assist voters with registration and making sure they are registered in the correct voting district in which they live.

The commission confirmed that following the registration weekend addresses of voters will be captured before the certification of the voters roll.
Political parties and independent contestants will also be given a copy of the voters roll with addresses to allow them the possibility for effective campaigning.

Currently there are 282 political parties registered with the Electoral Commission. There is no specific cut-off date for parties wishing to contest the 2016 municipal elections and registration is on-going.

- Electoral Commission.

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