The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) briefed the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 on their state of readiness for the 2016 Municipal Elections. Although the exact date of the 2016 Municipal Elections will only be known when the election is officially proclaimed by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in 2016, voter registration has been set for 5 and 6 March 2016. In terms of the Constitution the election must be held between 18 May and 16 August 2016.
The IEC gave an overview of SA’s elections landscape by highlighting the following:
40% growth in the voters’ roll since 1999
Estimated voting age population (VAP) of 31.4 million
Estimated that 18-29 age group make out the largest non-voting population (approximately 5 million)
Total number of municipalities reduced from 278 to 257 for these elections
According to the IEC, preparations for the elections had to be done in the context of an increased number of court challenges, implications for voters following the Constitutional Court judgment in the Tlokwe matter, attempts to close the ‘youth registration’ gap and in anticipation of challenges to matters connected to the enforcement of the Electoral Code of Conduct.
The Committee raised concerns around the use of members of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) as election officials. The IEC replied that only 8% of electoral workers are from the civil service sector, that the IEC did not have a relationship with SADTU and that it would be discriminatory to prevent SADTU members from participation in the election process. The IEC has been submitting names of all officials and deputy officials to the local Party Liaising Committees (PLCs) to make sure that political parties are able to raise any problems about particular persons presiding over elections.
For more on information on the briefing, see audio and presentation here. Full report to follow.
See infographic below for more on the South African voting landscape: