IEC happy with by-elections progress

11 November 2020 - 16:21
Other than protests in Soweto, by-election voting across the country was incident-free on Wednesday, said the IEC. File photo.
Other than protests in Soweto, by-election voting across the country was incident-free on Wednesday, said the IEC. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

The Electoral Commission said on Wednesday that voting in by-elections across the country had gone smoothly.

Ninety by-elections are being contested in municipalities after a delay caused by the Covid-19 lockdown.

IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said except for protests in Soweto, voting across the country had been incident free.

“In other areas, things are running smooth ... things are reasonably OK across the country where people are voting. We don't have any threats, we don't have any situation that we should be worried about,” she said.

A total of 609,133 people are expected to cast their ballots in the different municipalities.

Bapela said 23,000 of those had already cast their votes, as special votes, on Tuesday.

She said the IEC was well prepared to oversee voting despite the Covid-19 regulations.

“For instance, if you look at the indelible pen. Instead of a pen we take a cotton bud, just drop it in the ink and [use it to] mark someone's thumb, and then we dispose of it,” she said.

Bapela said staff had enough personal protective equipment, including gloves, masks and screens.

“By the time we came to these by-elections, we had been four months back at work, so we have picked up the pace. We know that this is something that is a necessity.”

The by-elections in Gauteng may see power changing hands in at least three municipalities: Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Mogale City.

In Ekurhuleni, three wards are up for contention and should the ANC lose, it may be in danger of losing its coalition government.

In Johannesburg, five wards are up for contention, two of which are DA strongholds. 

Should the ANC be dislodged in the three municipalities, it risks losing its coalition government, after it was ditched by the Patriotic Alliance, which formed part of mayor Geoff Makhubo's executive.

In Mogale City, one ward is being contested and could swing power to the opposition should the ANC fail to retain it.

Voting stops at 9pm on Wednesday and the election results are expected to be announced on Thursday at noon. 

TimesLIVE

By-elections in 95 wards across 55 municipalities in all nine of South Africa’s provinces will take place on "Super Wednesday" on November 11 2020. But how do by-elections work and why are these particular elections important? Here is all you need to know about 'Super Wednesday'


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