Tag: IEC

ANC beats IEC deadline to register candidates for elections

As the clock ticks down for parties to register their councillor candidates with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), African National Congress (ANC) insiders said that the party had already beaten the clock.

This is a huge turnaround for the governing party, which recently found itself scrambling after initially failing to register candidates for more than 20 municipalities.

The current registration period closes at 5pm on Tuesday afternoon.  Opposition parties have largely rejected this move, accusing the IEC of helping the ANC when it re-opened councillor nomination lists.

This debate was brought to an end by the Constitutional Court which ruled on Monday that the move was lawful.

It seems that critics of the ANC will have to wait on the electorate to send the governing party a message.

Its fortunes appear to have turned around from facing a disaster of not being able to contest in all the country’s wards to now meeting the IEC deadline with a day to spare.

Last month, the ANC failed to register and pay deposits.

But this time around in a message to national executive committee members, the party said that more than 4,000 wards and more than 200 local districts and metros now had representatives.

It also said that the IEC’s system confirmed this on Monday night.

But the IEC is not giving much away, with Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo only saying that the commission would make public certified lists on 28 September.

“We will be interacting with all parties if there are any issues of non-compliance we have to resolve. And on 28 September, we will issue a certified list formally.”

The IEC’s deadline to register candidates is at 5pm.

6 Things You Should Know About Voter Registration Weekend

South Africans eligible to vote in the local government elections will take to the polls on Monday, the 1st of November 2021, with a voter registration taking place this weekend.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs made the announcement earlier this month.

The date comes after the Constitutional Court dismissed the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) bid to postpone the elections until next year, as per the recommendation of former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.  Applications for special are set to open on September 20 and close on October 4.

What do you need to know about voter registration?

Why do I need to register to vote?

Before you can vote in the November elections, you have to register in the voting district where you live. This is important for municipal elections since you can only vote in the voting district where you are registered as a resident.

Where do I register?

You can visit your nearest voting station to register your details. This is important if you have relocated in the period since the last elections.

You can check where your nearest voting station is here.

You can also make an appointment to apply for registration during office hours at the local IEC office responsible for your voting district.

What do I need to take with me when I go to register? 

You need to register in person and take your smart ID card, green bar-coded ID book, or temporary ID certificate with you.

You also need to provide your physical address of where you live.

How do I register online?

You can also register on the IEC elections website.

If I’m abroad, can I still register to vote?

Yes, the Electoral Amendment Act of 2013 permits all South African citizens the right to register and vote abroad in elections.

To vote abroad, you must be registered and submit a VEC10 notification within the period specified on the election timetable, 15 days from the date on which the election is proclaimed.

ID book is in my maiden name, but my married name appears on the voters’ roll. Do I need to re-register?

No, IEC only uses your ID number and not your name. It checks your ID number against the National Population Register (NPR) to ensure that you are eligible to vote.

“We get your name as it’s reflected on the NPR (the department of home affairs automatically changes your name when you get married), and that is the name that appears on the voters’ roll. Your name on the voters’ roll does not have to matchthe name on your ID. You can apply to home affairs for a new ID reflecting your married name if you want to, but it’s not necessary to register or vote,” said the IEC.

 

IEC denies throwing ANC a lifeline by reopening candidate registrations

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has strongly denied throwing the African National Congress (ANC) a lifeline by reopening the process of submitting candidates for the local government elections.

The ANC failed to submit lists of its candidates in more than 90 municipalities before the deadline, which could have cost it dearly at the polls.

The IEC held a briefing on Monday to outline its way forward following Friday’s Constitutional Court ruling, which ordered it to set a new date for voter registration and amend the election timetable as may be reasonably necessary.

The Constitutional Court also ordered elections should be held between 27 October and 1 November.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be launching legal action against the commission’s decision to reopen the registration for candidates.

The party’s Helen Zille on Tuesday said the ANC “wormed its way around the rules and the Constitution”.

“We want a fair process in which rules apply to everybody fairly. In the past, the NFP missed the entire 2016 election because they missed a deadline, the IFP missed the 2011 election in a number of wards and municipalities because they miss a deadline. Suddenly when the ANC misses a deadline, a mechanism has to be found that controls our Constitution, that manipulates the process, and that we say is not acceptable.”

But the IEC’s Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Masego Sheburi said no party was benefiting unfairly by amending the election timetable.

“People who recently attained the age of majority who register as voters, and who intended to be candidate, if the candidate nomination process is not reopened, those persons will not be able to enjoy their Section 19 constitutional rights to stand for public office,” Sheburi said.

However, the Institute for Election Management Services’ Terry Tselane disagrees: “No, no, no, he [Sheburi] is wrong. Being registered as a voter does not qualify you as a candidate, and that is important. To qualify as a candidate, you must meet the requirements of Section 14 and Section 17 of the Municipal Electoral Act.”

The Inkatha Freedom Party has also expressed its intention to approach the courts over the IEC’s decision.

At the same time, the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution’s Dan Mafora on Monday said the political parties could approach the Electoral Court to argue that opening up the process when there was a deadline that they met and the ANC missed, would unfairly prejudice them.

“Failure to adhere to that timetable would’ve meant, for anyone, that they would be disqualified but now that the IEC is opening this up, that presents an unfair advantage to parties that did not abide by the timetable.”

The IEC has defended the legal advice it relied on to come to the decision, saying it was solid.

However, Mafora said it would have been ideal for the commission to share some of the details, even though they were not obliged to do so.

“They should’ve expressed some of the thinking or the reasons behind the decision to say, we’ve considered 1, 2, 3 and we’re going to do it for these reasons.”

The commission has also appealed to parties – including those challenging its plans – to be cognisant of the time pressures it faces.

Voter registration will be held on 18 and 19 September, after which the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will proclaim the election date.

DA announces mayoral candidates

The DA announced its mayoral candidates yesterday, with party leader John Steenhuisen saying that his party was open to coalitions but would not compromise on values.

The candidates for the five major cities of Tshwane, Joburg, Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay and Cape Town were announced ahead of the municipal elections which are scheduled for October 27.

Announcing the mayoral candidates, Steenhuisen pleaded with the ANC to do likewise.

“I would like to challenge the ANC to do what we have done for the sake of our democracy. Make this election the open contest it has always meant to be. Put your candidates out there in front of the people alongside ours,” he said.

According to Steenhuisen, the DA selected candidates who were “fit for purpose” and ready to campaign in their respective cities.

For the City of Tshwane, one of the hung municipalities after the 2016 local government elections, the DA announced the incumbent executive mayor Randall Williams as its mayoral candidate.

Williams has been in office for almost 10 months.

He was expected to be the party’s choice to continue with the work he started in November last year.

He assumed office after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled against the Gauteng government’s decision to dissolve the council and place it under administration.

A qualified lawyer,  Williams can expect to go head to head with ActionSA’s mayoral candidate Abel Tau, a former DA regional leader.

In his acceptance speech, Williams spoke about how he had stabilised the City of Tshwane’s finances after the metro was “plunged into chaos” by the Gauteng government’s decision to dissolve the council.

He said his achievement was reached through co-governance with smaller parties.

“What this has shown us is that we can do so much with the majority – so that we can govern the city outright and fully implement the policy position of the DA to take the city forward,” he said.

He shot down the suggestion that his party had been in coalition with the EFF, saying both parties had a “loose arrangement.

“What we had with the EFF in 2016 was a loose arrangement, that they will determine on a particular day whether they will vote with us on a case-to-case basis.”

In retrospect, he said, the relationship with the EFF was “very unstable”, adding it was not “something we should do going forward”.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, the party picked current mayor Nqaba Bhanga as its mayoral candidate, to make sure it wins the metro with an outright majority this time around.

Former social development MMC Dr Mpho Phalatse was named the mayoral candidate for Joburg. She is expected to face stiff competition from former mayor Herman Mashaba, who quit the DA to form ActionSA.

Phalatse said her focus was not on her opponents, but the residents and the campaign to win votes for the DA.

“People of Joburg, and indeed South Africa, I begin this campaign with a deep appreciation for the reality of the city. Residents do not need meaningless dream-like rhetoric of making Joburg a ‘world-class African city’. You need reality, hard work, selfless commitment, vision – and we will start by getting basic service delivery back on track,” she said.

In Ekurhuleni the DA has fielded Refiloe Nt’sekhe as its mayoral candidate. She said she was “aware of the complete and systemic collapse of the municipality”.

“Power outages for days, weeks on end, interrupted and unplanned water outages, roads in disrepair, and urban decay is rife while poverty and squalor are the hallmarks of the incompetence of the ANC and their coalition partners,” Nt’sekhe said.

City of Cape Town mayoral candidate, Geordin Hill-Lewis, also a DA Member of Parliament, expressed confidence about retaining the metro for the party.

“From tomorrow (today) morning we will be spending time criss-crossing Cape Town, every community, to win those votes and talk about our message for the campaign,” he said.

No legislation gives Government or IEC power to postpone polls

The government has officially proclaimed 27 October as the date for the local government elections, but this doesn’t mean the polls will take place on that day.

Minister of Cooperative Governance, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said that the proclamation was needed to allow the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to go to the Constitutional Court with a legally fixed date in order to ask for a postponement.

An inquiry by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke found that elections held in October would not be free or fair due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the IEC should approach a competent court and ask for a postponement to no later than the end of February next year.

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that the IEC was expected to approach the Constitutional Court this week to urgently ask for the local government elections to be postponed.

A great deal hangs on the court’s decision:

“If the ConCourt says it is not agreeing to the postponement, I don’t think we have another recourse. Because nobody has the powers – there’s no legislation that gives the government, or Cogta or the IEC to postpone the elections,” she said.

“If there was, we would have postponed them without going to court,” the minister added.

The 27 October date for the elections gazetted on Tuesday is a legal formality to allow for the electoral commission to go to court to ask for a postponement.

It is in line with the electoral timetable drawn up by the IEC, which must still be adhered to until the local government elections are officially postponed.

2021 Elections to be Postponed

The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) will move to postpone South Africa’s local government elections.  The commission cited the Moseneke report published earlier this week as a key factor behind the postponement, as well as concerns around the current Covid-19 pandemic.

In a media briefing on Friday (23 July), the IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said that the commission unanimously accepted the report and will urgently approach a competent court to have the elections postponed. This will have to be either the Electoral Court or the Constitutional Court.

He added that consultation will be undertaken with National Treasury on the financial implications of the postponement, as well as with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs around other the logistics involved.

Mashinini also said that a new date for voter registration will be announced in due course, with all other election activities to continue until the court has made its decision.

The Moseneke findings

The Moseneke report was overseen by the former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke who was asked to review the current conditions and if they are conducive to hold elections. Moseneke’s team recommended that the elections be postponed from October as they would not be free and fair, but should not be held later than February 2022.

Moseneke said that there were specific concerns around the amount of time political parties will have to prepare for elections, as well as the ongoing Covid-19 situation in South Africa which raises its own issues.

He said that the current timetable set for the registration of voters and all the processes around the announcement of the date of the elections, cannot be kept, given the uncertainty of the lockdown level and restrictions in place.

These restrictions could still be extended further when the latest deadline – 25 July – is reached this weekend.

Other specific issues which were identified include:

  • Current lockdown restrictions impede gatherings that could be harmful to political parties;
  • Gatherings for elections could undermine the country’s efforts to contain Covid-19 infections;
  • South Africans are likely to stay away from the polls in large numbers due to concerns around Covid-19.

Moseneke recommends that the October local government elections be postponed

Former deputy chief justice, Dikgang Moseneke, has recommended that the local government elections be postponed.

“We conclude that it’s not reasonably possible that the elections, to be held in October in 2021, will not be held in a free and fair manner as required by the provisions of the constitution and related legislation. The scheduled elections are likely to be free and fair if they were to be held not later than the end of the month of February 2022.”

Mosenke chaired the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) into ensuring free and fair local government elections are held during Covid-19.

Moseneke released a report on Tuesday based on the oral submissions which were initially presented by civil society groups, political organizations, government, and health experts said the findings of the report were not binding.

The IEC applauded Moseneke for finishing the report with his team a day before the deadline.

The commission said it took the decision to embark on the inquiry to find out whether the IEC should proceed with the elections or not.

Glen Mashinini, IEC chairperson, said:

This enquiry has been conducted under extreme timelines. Despite the pressures Justice Moseneke and team you were able to accept our request. In just 61-days justice Moseneke and Team have managed to compile an in-depth report and investigations into whether elections will be free and fair under Covid-19 In October.

Mashinini said the commission would study the report in-depth and further study the findings and recommendations.

A total determination based on the findings would be made by the IEC soon. The independent commission said it was aware the lives of people came first, which was very important.

Previously, the health department expressed concern around the local government elections having to take place in October later this year when presenting their oral submissions. The department said the country would not be ready by then as a result of the slow vaccination rate.

The department, Director-General of the National health Dr. Sandile Buthelezi was making submissions before the Moseneke Independent Electoral Committee (IEC) inquiry in free and fair elections during Covid-19.

Explaining his presentations before the inquiry, Buthelezi said: “The country is currently experiencing a high number of Covid-19 cases with high community transmission rates. The holding of elections could put members of the public at risk of contracting Covid-19 during one of the various activities such as.

Process

“Physical voter registration. The voting process itself, where large numbers gather at polling stations and ques to complete their ballots and large political gatherings, especially in venues that are difficult to manage or limit (such as sports stadia),” he said.

The inquiry chaired heard that the lives of voters would only be protected during the pandemic if the country reached herd immunity, which required at least 40 million of the country’s population to be vaccinated. The department said this target could only be possible by February 2022.

Buthelezi however told the inquiry that only 16.6 million of the country’s population would be vaccinated by October.

The IEC appointed Moseneke to prepare a report in terms of Section 14(4) of the Electoral Commission Act. The purpose of the inquiry was to make findings and recommendations on whether the IEC would be able to ensure a free and fair 2021 LGE.

Voter Registration Postponed

The Electoral Commission (IEC) has postponed the voter registration weekend by two weeks due to the third wave of Covid-19 currently impacting the country. In a meeting on Wednesday, the commission decided to reschedule the voter registration weekend from 17-18 July to the weekend of 31 July – 1 August.

The decision was made following after reviewing the current conditions including the rate of infections and hospitalizations over the past seven days and its impact on preparations for the registration weekend.

The commission also considered concerns raised by political parties of proceedings with voter registration as well as warnings from health officials and other experts during last week’s oral submissions before the Moseneke Inquiry, regarding the risks of proceeding with a voter registration weekend under the current lockdown conditions.

Health experts told the inquiry last week that the current third wave of infections was likely to persist until at least the end of the month, and that extension of the lockdown was likely.

“Taking into consideration the various factors including the constitutional timeframe which requires the elections to be held before 1 November 2021 and the minimum period required for the election timetable, the commission resolved to postpone the voter registration weekend to the latest possible date which is 31 July – 1 August.

“The two-week postponement will have a knock-on effect on certain dates and activities associated with the proclamation and election including delaying proclamation by four days until 6 August.”

The commission however said it was confident that successful elections can be held within a reduced election timetable of 82 days rather than the original 86 days.

The IEC  is still awaiting the final report of the Moseneke Inquiry into whether the elections can be free and fair if they were to proceed as scheduled on 27 October. The inquiry is led by former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke who is scheduled to present his report and its recommendations to the Commission by 21 July 2021.

Voter registration weekend

Voters will be able to register on 17 and 18 July at specially set up points in their wards for the upcoming local government elections, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has confirmed.

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo told a gathering of the South African Editors Forum on Wednesday that, due to the commission’s finances, there would only be one voter registration weekend.

There are usually two or three such weekends before an election, and before the elections are promulgated and the voters’ roll is closed.

IEC says “No” for postponing local government elections

In spite of a budget cut and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Independent Electorial Commission (IEC) said that it was on track to run local government elections this year and poured cold water on the possibility of postponing the polls.

Some political parties, including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), wanted the elections delayed as the lockdown had limited their ability to campaign and the country faced a possible third wave of infections.

Officials on Tuesday night updated Parliament’s portfolio committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the IEC’s readiness for the polls.

Municipal councils’ five-year term ends on 4 August and the Constitution said that elections must be held within 90 days, which meant by 1 November.

On postponing the polls, IEC deputy chief electoral officer, Masego Sheburi, had this to say: “In our view, there are no constitutional mechanisms to allow for an election beyond 90 days – the only avenue that we think is available is for an amendment to the Constitution.”

However, to be passed, this would likely require a super-majority in Parliament.

“On this understanding, the posture of the commission is that it must stand ready to deliver free and fair elections whenever they are called, in any case, not beyond the 1st of November.”

Sheburi said that if somehow a way was found to lawfully postpone the elections, the IEC would fall in line with those plans.

“But not to prepare and stand ready at the earliest opportunity to deliver elections will amount to a constitutional dereliction of duty on behalf of the commission.”

It will be up to Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to proclaim the date of the elections. The IEC said that she was involved in discussions within government around this.

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