Political parties and independent candidates planning on campaigning for the local government elections must follow the strict Covid-19 protocols, as the country prepares to take to the polls on November 1.
Johannesburg – Political parties and independent candidates planning on campaigning for the local government elections must follow the strict Covid-19 protocols, as the country prepares to take to the polls on November 1.
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma announced the new date for the election, during a media briefing on Wednesday.
Dlamini Zuma said the government could have chosen the originally proclaimed day of October 27, but the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) indicated that it would need as much time as possible to prepare for the elections.
“These elections are important in advancing our young democracy. They mark the 21st anniversary since the establishment of a democratic local government system in our country. This sphere of government remains the hope of our people, as the sphere closest to them, and is in the coalface of service delivery,” Dlamini Zuma said.
The minister also affirmed to abide by the Constitutional Court decision to set aside the election proclamation she had previously made.
The Constitutional Court last week ordered the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to hold local government elections on any day between October 27 and November 1 this year.
The Constitutional Court dismissed the urgent application made by the IEC, seeking to postpone the 2021 local government elections last month.
The ConCourt further instructed the IEC to hold a special voter registration weekend.
In complying with the Constitutional Court order, the IEC decided that a physical registration weekend was a necessity ahead of this election and, subsequently, scheduled registration for the weekend of September 18 and 19, 2021.
The IEC also announced that it would be “reasonably necessary” to amend the timetable and to reopen candidate registrations – a decision that has since been challenged by the DA in the ConCourt.
Dlamini Zuma said she could not comment on the court bid, as the matter was sub-judice since she was also cited as a respondent.
The voter registration weekend would offer all eligible citizens an opportunity to register or update their registration details.
All 23 151 voting stations would open, from 8am to 5pm, on both days.
Earlier this week, chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said the commission would be “technically ready” to deliver on voter registration weekend, as all logistical items – including Covid-19 personal protective equipment – were stored in warehouses and ready for use.
He said the commission would be in a position to secure voting stations, to print ballot papers, train staff, and provide for all other requisite logistical material.
Dlamini Zuma cautioned candidates and voters that the country was still in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
“Fellow South Africans, let me also caution – as I stated in the beginning – that we are going to hold the elections during a pandemic that continues to ravage the whole world. We, therefore, urge everyone to still exercise caution, and observe protocols and regulations, as we go to register, campaign and vote,” she said.