Delegates at the DDP Elections Briefing Forum at Elangeni Hotel; 28 April 2021.
Picture: Sthabiso Mdledle
Elections had to take place within 90 days of the expiry of the current term. The earliest possible date for Local Government Elections (LGE) 2021 would be 04 August 2021 and the latest date would be 01 November 2021. The date of the election would be proclaimed by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs after consultation with the IEC. The voting day would be preceded by special voting days. The IEC was targeting registration and would arrange two voter registration weekends ahead of the election. The IEC would also facilitate online voter registration and look at other ways of registering voters. There were no changes to outer municipal boundaries; the only changes were to ward boundaries. A new voting device would work in real-time and therefore ensure that there were no duplicate votes.
The IEC had made huge progress in obtaining the addresses of voters. There were 26,5 million registered voters. 24.1 million or 91% had complete addresses; 4% had a potentially incomplete address but could be rural addresses; 5% had no address at all and those people were largely in informal settlements in high-density provinces and former Homeland areas. The great unknown risk ahead of the elections was the Covid-19 pandemic.
The DDP hosted a forum to speak to some of these issues, and engage the IEC on the role of civil society during the course of this electoral period. This event was held at Elangeni Hotel in Durban on the 28th of April 2021.
The panelist included Ntombifuthi Masinga, Electoral Manager at the Independent Electoral Commission, and Bonolo Makgale from the University of Pretoria.
The intended outcome of this event was to:
Establish the level of readiness of the IEC in preparation for elections
Unpack the steps undertaken towards recruitment and addressing issues witnessed in the 2019 National and provincial elections
Assess the impact of Covid-19 on local government elections
Unpack the impact on civil society organizations and their functioning in the electoral process