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From voter registration to candidate nominations - five things you should know from the IEC briefing

The Constitutional Court ruled that elections must happen between October 27 and November 1 this year. File photo.
The Constitutional Court ruled that elections must happen between October 27 and November 1 this year. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images

IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said on Monday the commission will ensure a free and fair electoral process when South Africans head to the polls for the local government elections later this year.

He was briefing the media after the Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that elections must be held between October 27 and November 1. 

The commission applied for a postponement of the elections after former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke recommended they be moved to February next year. In a report released in July, Moseneke said the elections will not be free or fair if they are held during a Covid-19 pandemic. 

Here are five takeaways from the electoral commission's briefing on election preparation going forward

A free and fair electoral process 

Mashinini said eligible voters who intend to register can apply between September 10 and 13. He said the commission will ensure the electoral process is free, fair and safe.  

“The commission has already taken measures to ensure that it complies with the orders of the Constitutional Court relating to the conduct of municipal elections by the first of November 2021.

Registration weekend 

Mashinini said the commission, after deliberations with the Cogta minister, decided to reopen the voter registration weekend after the apex court's judgment at the weekend. 

He said all 23,151 voting stations will be open for registration on September 18 and 19.

“The minister will, on September 20 proclaim the date of the election. This proclamation will cause the voters' roll to be closed for the purposes of the 2021 municipal elections. The commission has indicated its preference of the election date to the minister who is now considering the matter.”

Candidate nomination 

Political parties and independent candidates will be allowed to nominate candidates after the registration weekend.

Mashinini said there were different interpretations by political parties about whether the commission can reopen candidate nomination. He said the commission, after advice, decided to reopen this process after the voter registration weekend.

“The commission will publish an amended timetable which will provide truncated timelines. These are reasonably necessary to meet the deadline for the conduct of the 2021 municipal elections.”

Voter management 

Mashinini said voters' details will be captured electronically at voting stations.

“The expectation is that the registration data will be consolidated sooner than would have been the case. This will allow for the inspection of the voter's roll to be prepared and for objections to close on September 23, 2021.”

Most parties support the decision to reopen candidate nomination

Mashinini said political parties who are opposing the reopening of candidate nominations are in the minority.

Before the announcement, DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille said the party will take legal action if the ANC, which failed to register its candidates in the initial round, is allowed to register its candidates. 

“There were parties that did not agree with the interpretation. That’s the divergence of views that emerged in the discussions. But we also need to understand when we talk about PLC and consultation, it doesn’t mean that the commission is seeking permission.”