Africa-Press – South-Africa. Cape Town – The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has said Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma would determine the local government election date after consultation with the electoral body.
Briefing the co-operative governance and traditional affairs portfolio committee on Tuesday night, chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said the consultation has commenced but not concluded.
Mamabolo said once the consultative process was finalised, Dlamini Zuma would take the country into confidence in terms of the precise election day.
However, he said elections should take place within 90 days of expiry of the five-year term of the current councillors.
“For the 2021 local government elections that 90-day window starts on 4 August and ends on 1 November 2021.”
Mamabolo also said general elections were traditionally held on a Wednesday with special votes being cast on the two preceding days.
He told MPs that the Municipal Demarcation Board has completed the municipal outer boundary re-determination process and the IEC provided the municipal segment of the voters roll as per the 2019 elections.
Dlamini Zuma also determined the formula for determining the number of councillors for different categories of municipalities, and that MECs responsible for local government used the formula to determine the number of councillors.
This had allowed the demarcation board to start the ward delimitation process and also held consultation on ward boundaries before handling them last December.
“We had planned to finalise that process in August but due to disruptions owing to Covid-19 we had to adjust dates,” Mamabolo said.
He also said since last October and end of last month, they had been busy aligning voting districts to new ward boundaries.
“There were a number of districts split by boundaries,” Mamabolo said, adding that they would now go to affected areas to re-register voters in new voting districts or adjacent districts.
“That work will commence in April and conclude at the end of May. We anticipate that we would have a voter registration weekend in May, June and July the latest.”
Mamabolo said the specific date for voter registration weekend would be announced when the election date is determined.
He explained that they wanted the voter registration weekend to be as close as practically possible to the elections day.
“Until the finalisation of consultation the date of registration weekend is in-determined.”
The IEC’s plan for candidate nomination was July or August.
Mamabolo said in terms of the law by-elections could not be held for vacancies arising from May 1.
“However, elections may still be held beyond this date if the vacancy arose before 1 May 2021. The MEC for local government has to determine that the by-election must stand over until the general elections.”
He also said although the newly passed amendment, that awaits assent from President Cyril Ramaphosa, provided for by-elections not to be held for vacancies after February 1, it could not be applied retrospectively.
However, Mamabolo said the IEC planned to have two sets of by-elections for 15 wards on April 21 and 40 wards on May 19.