Election train at 'full speed', as political parties pledge to adhere to electoral code

01 October 2021 - 12:34
The IEC says it is ready for the local government elections. File image.
The IEC says it is ready for the local government elections. File image.

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said on Friday it was surging ahead with its preparations for the local government elections to be held on November 1. A total of 320 parties will vie for seats, with 1,718 independent candidates also contesting.

IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini made this remark at the signing of the Electoral Code of Conduct by political parties contesting the elections.

The representatives of political parties represented in the National Assembly pledged their commitment to the code and to ensure that their candidates conduct themselves in a manner conducive to free and fair elections.

Mashinini said chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo had certified the voters' roll on September 26. It contains the names of 26.2-million voters, of which 55% are female.

Mashinini said Gauteng has the biggest representation with 6.1-million voters, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 5.4-million.

He said the 30-39 age group was the largest group of voters, with 6.7-million people, representing 25% of voters.

The 26.6-million registered voters represented 67.9% of the estimated voting age population of 38-million.

“In terms of registration coverage, the Eastern Cape has the highest coverage, of 79.9% of the estimated voting population.”

KwaZulu-Natal has 75.8% coverage and Free State 75.3%

“The election train is in full speed. The commission has certified and published the list of candidates on 29 September.

“We are breaking records in terms of candidature. The total is 99,116 candidates who were nominated to contest these elections — 63,409 were ward candidates and 35,707 were proportional representation candidates.”

He said the IEC had received a total of 314,392 applications already for special votes and 180,197 voting station visits and 93,779 home visits have been approved by the commission.

“It in now in the hands of all participants to ensure that elections are held in an exciting, exuberant, but peaceful condition.”

Mashinini warned that on election day at the voting stations, the wearing of masks would be compulsory, social distancing of 1.5m would be enforced and voters must sanitise at the entry to the stations.

“Our new technology will ensure that voters spend as little time as possible in the voting stations.”

The code of conduct was a statutory instrument to achieve a free and fair election, the IEC told parties.

“Its observance speaks to ... who we are as protagonists of an orderly conduct of our public affairs.”

Mashinini said the key aspects of the code include making a public commitment that everyone has a right to freely express their political beliefs and opinions, to canvass support for a party and candidates of their choice, hold public meetings, and lawfully erect billboards, posters and placards.

Conduct prohibited by the code includes using language which provokes violence, intimidation of candidates and voters, offering any inducement or reward to any person to vote for their party, and destroying or defacing posters and placards belonging to other parties.

Criminal acts, such as defacing of posters, should also be reported to the police.

This is a developing story.