Home News This is how the IEC is preparing for 2021 municipal elections

This is how the IEC is preparing for 2021 municipal elections

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The Independent Electoral Commision has outlined the process it will follow in preparation for the municipal elections to be held next year after the Municipal Demarcation Board has finished the delimitation of wards.

File picture: Brendan Magaar / African News Agency (ANA)

The Independent Electoral Commision has outlined the process it will follow in preparation for the municipal elections to be held next year after the Municipal Demarcation Board has finished the delimitation of wards.

The Municipal Demarcation Board plans to hand over the final set of wards to the electoral body in November after it experienced challenges in holding public hearings in provinces ahead of the August deadline.

Briefing the home affairs portfolio committee on Tuesday, deputy electoral officer Masego Shiburi said after receiving the delimitation wards from the board, they would adjust voting districts  from from December to mid-February.

“If boundaries are redrawn, a number of voting districts will be impacted. As soon as we receive ward boundaries we must look at the impact of new wards on the network of voting districts and see if each voting district falls within a ward.

“We will do this work in consultation with the municipal liaison committees,” Shiburi said.

He also said during March and April, the IEC would have targeted campaigns aimed at registerimg voters in the delimitation wards.

In April to June, the electoral body would undertake general voter registration, Shiburi said.

This will see all voting stations opened to enable persons register,  update their details and addresses.

“We will have general registration drives to enrol first time voters and those persons who may have changed addresses in the intervening period.”

Shiburi also told MPs that their plans for next year’s elections was on the basis of 23 200 voting districts. In December, the IEC would start procurement processes for voting materials.

“A new addition to our bill of materials we reviewed include PPE and other necessary health care material to anticipate the impact of Covid-19,” he said.

Shiburi also said there was a need to grow the voters roll with the introduction of new voters, particularly those aged between 18 to 29, who were under-represented in the voters roll.

“Our own research shows that voters in that age cohort, once registered, are 10 times likely to vote than any other age cohort,” he said.

He added that they would have messages targeted at voters affected by the demarcation of wards and delimitation of voting districts.

Shiburi said the IEC would unveil the theme and songs for the municipal elections next year.

He noted that the approval rating on the part of IEC by voters was still high, but in the period between elections it was dragged down.

“Research proves that there is a decline in the trust by citizens on political institutions necessary for democracy to thrive. There is district by voters on political parties and there is mistrust on local government as an institution.”

Shiburi said the IEC required  those two key institutions for the delivery of elections. He added that the electoral body recruited electoral staff based on criteria with political parties

“Once we made our selection, we provide names of key people to political parties that can raise objections on use of those persons.

“We also ensure that we don’t have undesirable persons, convicted for serious offences,”Shiburi said.

He said the IEC was looking at more than 207 000 electoral staff. 

Shiburi also said the IEC currently has 632 registered political parties. Only 103 have representation in councils, legislatures and Parliament.

“We anticipate that the number will also increase as we build up to the elections,” he said.

He assured MPs that they were on track with procurement of voting material for the 23 200 voting stations’ readiness for 2021.

Shiburi also said they have plans created to ensure that they could recruit, train and get more than 200 000 staff so that they deploy knowledgeable people at voting stations on the election day.

Political Bureau