Some “touch-ups” needed to be done before a date for the local government elections could be announced, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister David van Rooyen said on Thursday.
The finalisation of voting districts and the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the Tlokwe by-elections were some of the reasons why a date had not been announced yet, he told reporters on the sidelines of the Electoral Commission of SA’s official municipal election launch in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Last year, the Constitutional Court set aside the by-elections which took place in the area in 2013 and ordered that they be rerun.
It set aside the by-elections conducted on September 12 2013 in ward 18, and on December 10 2013 in wards one, four, 11, 12, 13 and 20.
The applicants were eight independent candidates who contested the by-elections. The African National Congress (ANC) won all the contested wards except one.
Before the elections, the candidates had lodged objections with the Electoral Commission (IEC) over voter registrations in their respective wards.
In the December by-elections in six wards, the applicants complained of delays in receiving the segments of the national voters’ roll to be used for the by-elections.
These segments also did not include the residential addresses for any voters.
The Tlokwe by-elections were set to be rerun on February 24.
IEC vice chairperson Terry Tselane on Thursday said the commission’s staff were on the ground going to different areas, particularly those which did not have formal addresses.
An “affirmation form” had been developed for those who did not have a formal address and wanted to register to vote.
This was a big challenge, he said.
More than 60% of the country did not have formal addresses.
“Since we started with development of the voters roll in 1998 we never had an obligation of supplying voter rolls with addresses, we have never done that, so now the Constitutional Court says we have to do it.”
However, he said the court had clarified a lot of issues for the IEC and also raised its standard of doing things.
Chief Electoral Officer Mosotho Moepya said the budget for this year’s municipal elections was R1.5bn.
However, Van Rooyen asked people to keep in mind that the amount might increase.
The IEC said it was ready for the elections and had been preparing for about 15 months.
The first voter registration weekend would be held on March 5 and 6.
There were 24.95 million registered voters, which was slightly lower than the 2014 general elections.
Moepya said the Municipal Demarcation Board had reviewed ward boundaries and the number of municipalities had been reduced from 278 to 257.
These included eight metropolitan municipalities, 205 local municipalities and 44 district municipalities.
There was a 15% reduction in wards, with a final figure of 4 392.
The electoral commission had taken an initiative to visit and inform voters who had been affected by the changes in ward boundaries.
Genevieve Quintal, News24
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