2021 local government elections will go ahead as planned: Cyril Ramaphosa
Local government elections will continue as planned this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during the state of the nation address on Thursday.
This was despite calls from the EFF and some sections of Ramaphosa's own party, the ANC, for the municipal polls to be postponed.
Ramaphosa said that Covid-19 had changed the way of life across the world so adjustments would have to made as how elections are conducted.
The poll is scheduled for any time between August and November this year and must go ahead, according to Ramaphosa, because citizens have the right to choose their preferred representatives at municipal level.
Elections are known for their long queues at voting stations which, given the pandemic, could become super-spreader events.
Ramaphosa called for the adjustments to the normal election processes.
“As we prepare for local government elections, which are due take place this year, we will need to adjust to the conditions forced upon us by Covid so that we can ensure that the people of this country can determine who represents them at this crucial level of government,” Ramaphosa said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address in Parliament, on February 11 2021. He addressed matters including vaccine rollouts, corruption, energy procurement and Covid-19 relief grant extensions.
The EFF and some within the ANC had called for the postponement of the elections. The red berets argued that the pandemic had created a distance between itself and its constituencies as the party could not conduct campaigns.
Ramaphosa also said there were measures being implemented to ensure that only capable leaders were appointed in municipalities.
He said in most cases it has been found that most people occupying senior positions in municipalities were not adequately qualified and kept “messing up”.
“Working with both public and private sector partners, government is implementing a range of measures to support municipalities to address inadequate and inconsistent service delivery in areas such water provision, infrastructure build and maintenance.
“We are focusing on the appointment of properly qualified officials at a local level to ensure effective management and provision of services,” Ramaphosa said.
The lack of skills at municipalities also hurt service delivery and dented public confidence.
“The public service is at the coalface of government, and lack of professionalism doesn’t just affect service delivery; it also dents public confidence. Advancing honesty, ethics and integrity in the public service is critical if we are to build a capable state,” Ramaphosa said.
“Through the National School of Government, we continue to roll out courses and training programmes for government officials from entry level to senior management and the executive.”