Your guide to the 2016 Local Government Election

WEB_PHOTO_ELECTIONFAQ_22022016

Registration for the 2016 Local Government Elections takes place on 5 and 6 March.

JOHANNESBURG - The next round of registration for the 2016 Local Government Elections takes place between 8am and 5pm on 9 and 10 April.

President Jacob Zuma has announced that the poll will be take place on 3 August 2016.

The first round of registration was held on 5 and 6 March (see video below).

Click on the links below to find the answer to frequently asked questions on the elections process.

How does local government work?

How do local government elections differ from other elections?

Who can register to vote?

What do I need to register?

Where and when do I register?

What if I have moved since I last voted?

What do I do if my voting district has changed?

How do I check my voter registration details?

How does the voter registration process work?

How do I vote?

Do I qualify for a special vote?

Is there assistance for people with disabilities?

Who is my ward councillor?

How do I contact the Independent Electoral Commission?

Can I stand as an independent candidate?

How do I register my political party?

How does local government work?

Local government in South Africa is made up of municipalities which are run by councils.

There are currently three kinds of municipalities:

metropolitan municipalities which are big cities
local municipalities which are towns and their surrounding rural areas
district municipalities which coordinate a number of local municipalities in a region
The largest metropolitan areas are governed by metropolitan municipalities, while the rest of the country is divided into district municipalities, each of which consists of several local municipalities.
South Africa’s local government is currently made up of eight metropolitan municipalities, 44 district municipalities, and 207 local municipalities.

The eight metropolitan municipalities are:

Buffalo City (East London): 392,021 registered voters*
City of Cape Town: 1,883,592 registered voters*
City of Johannesburg: 2,152,112 registered voters*
City of Tshwane (Pretoria): 1,434,931 registered voters*
Ekurhuleni (East Rand): 1,520,553 registered voters*
Ethekwini (Durban): 1,800,492 registered voters*
Mangaung (Bloemfontein): 393,629 registered voters*
Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth): 580,254 registered voters*.
* Registration figures as at September 2015

All municipalities are governed by municipal councils which are elected every five years.

The councils of metropolitan and local municipalities are elected by a system of proportional representation, while the councils of district municipalities are partly elected by proportional representation and partly appointed by the councils of the constituent local municipalities.

Therefore at local government or municipal elections the voters have three ballot papers: one to vote for a candidate for ward councillor, one to vote for a party for the council of the local municipality, and one to vote for a party for the council of the district municipality (if they live in a local municipality).

Most municipal councils are managed by an executive committee, elected executive mayor and a municipal manager.

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How do local government elections differ from other elections?

Municipal elections are held every five years to elect councillors who will be responsible for governing a municipality for the next five years.
The current term of office of municipal councils ends on 18 May 2016.

The councillors will serve on the town, city, metropolitan or district councils that ensure services that impact the daily lives of citizens in their areas including water, electricity and sanitation.

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.

In terms of the Constitution the election must be held between 18 May and 16 August 2016.

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Who can register to vote?

  • A person can register to vote in South Africa if they:
  • Are a South African citizen;
  • Are at least 16 years old (you can only vote from age 18 though);
  • Have a green, bar-coded identification (ID) book; smartcard ID; or valid temporary identity certificate (TIC).

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What do I need to register?

By law, you must apply in person (no online or email registrations are permitted) and you must bring your valid:

  • green, bar-coded ID book, or;
  • smartcard ID, or;
  • temporary identity certificate (TIC).
  • No other forms of identification are accepted (not even passports or driving licences). Only original documents – no copies – are accepted. Please note that no proof of residence is required.

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Where and when do I register?

Apply for registration during office hours at the local Electoral Commission office responsible for your voting district, or register to vote on special registration days (often called registration weekends).

The second and final registration weekend for the 2016 Municipal Elections is to be held on 9 and 10 April 2016, with all voting stations nationwide open from 8am to 5pm on both the Saturday and Sunday.

If you would like to register at your local Electoral Commission office, please always call first to make an appointment, as nearer to an election electoral staff are often out of office to conduct voter education in their communities. 

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What if I have moved since I last voted?

During municipal elections and by-elections, you must vote at the voting station where you are registered, and you must register in the voting district in which you live most of the time.

If you are already registered as a voter, and you have recently moved or you realise that you will be living in another place on Election Day (for example, if you are a student), you must go back to a registration point and fill in a form to change your registration details.

You will then be moved to the correct voting district and your name will be put on the voters’ roll for that district.

To find out where your correct voting station is, please go to http://maps.elections.org.za/vsfinder/

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What do I do if my voting district has changed?

During municipal elections and by-elections, you must vote at the voting station where you are registered, and you must register in the voting district in which you live most of the time.

If you have been informed that your voting district boundaries have changed, you may need to re-register in another voting district.

To find out where your correct voting station is, please go to http://maps.elections.org.za/vsfinder/

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How do I check my voter registration details?

The IEC has as a smartphone app that allows users to:

  • Get your registration details, including registration status and voting station address and map.
  • Find your nearest voting station.
  • Get results for national and provincial elections.
  • Keep up to date with our Twitter and Facebook feeds.
  • Get answers to our most frequently asked questions
  • Get IEC contact info.

The apps require internet connectivity and location service.

You can also check your details here.

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How does the voter registration process work?

 

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How do I vote?

Ensure that you have the address for the correct voting station for the voting district in which you are registered.

Most voting stations are located in community buildings like local schools, churches or community centres.

Where buildings are not available, voting stations are set up in tents in parks or other open land. In some sparsely-populated rural areas we use specially adapted vehicles as mobile voting stations.

Every voting station has large clear signs outside marking it as a voting station.

Present your valid identification document to the door controller at the entrance of the voting station

At the entrance of the voting station is an election official who serves as a door controller.

He or she will check that you have a valid identification document (green barcoded ID book, smart-card ID or temporary ID certificate), will scan this document, and present you with a slip that confirms that you are a registered voter.

The door controller will also tell you when it is your turn to enter the station and will advise where to go once inside the voting station.

Once inside the voting station you will proceed to the voters’ roll table where election officials will take your ID document and check for your name and identity number on the segment of the national common voters’ roll for that voting district.

Your name will then be crossed off – this is a manual mechanism for ensuring that voters only vote once.

An election official will then ink your left thumb nail.

This is a special ink that will not wash off your nail for several days.

An election official will then hand you your ballot papers – which they will tear off a pad.

Each ballot paper has a unique number and you must make sure that there is a stamp at the back of your ballot papers to verify that they were issued to you on that Election Day.

For national and provincial elections voters generally receive two ballot papers (one for the national and one for the provincial election), whereas for municipal elections voters in metros and local councils receive two ballot papers (one for a ward councillor and one for a political party as part of the PR section of the election.

Voters in areas which form part of a district council receive a third ballot paper for the district council election.

Your green ID book, if that was your identification document, will then be stamped by an election official to show that you participated in the election.

You will then be directed to an empty voting booth.

Here you will place your X in the box next to the political party and/or candidate of your choice.

To avoid a spoilt ballot, ensure that you make only one mark on each ballot paper and that your mark is clear.

If you make a mistake call an election official and they will provide you with a new ballot paper.

When you are finished, fold your ballot papers in half and leave the voting booth. You are not allowed to photograph your marked ballot paper.

An election official stationed at the ballot box will check that there is a stamp at the back of each of your ballots. Having made your mark, drop your completed ballot paper through the slot in the top of the ballot box.

After casting your vote, you will then be directed to the exit.

Remember that political party representatives and independent observers (both national and international) are present throughout the voting and counting process to observe the process and to ensure it is free and fair.

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Do I qualify for a special vote?

A special vote allows a registered voter, who can&39;t vote at their voting station on election day, to apply to vote on a predetermined day before election day.

For information on voting abroad during national elections, please see How to register and vote abroad.

You can apply if you:

  • are a registered voter;
  • have a green, bar-coded ID book; smartcard ID; or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate (apply at a Home Affairs office); and
  • meet the conditions for the specific type of election (see below).
  • To make sure that you&39;re registered and to find out where you&39;re registered, you can:
  • Check your voter registration status online;
  • SMS your ID number to 32810; or
  • Make an appointment to visit your local IEC office (NOT the national or provincial offices).

By law, you can apply for a special vote if you:

  • can’t travel to your voting station because you are physically infirm, disabled or pregnant; or
  • can’t vote at your voting station on election day.

During the period specified in the election timetable (only published once the election date has been proclaimed), go to your local IEC office (not the national or provincial offices) and submit a MEC35 form.

Forms can only be hand-delivered (no emails or faxes are accepted), but someone else can deliver your completed form on your behalf.

You should receive an SMS notifying you of the outcome once your application has been processed, but you can also check the status of your special vote application online.

Dates for the casting of special votes (usually a day or two before election day) are predetermined and published in the election timetable for a specific election.

The election timetable is only published after the election date has been proclaimed (officially announced and gazetted).

By law, special votes can only be cast on the date/s specified in the election timetable and no exceptions can be made.

If you can’t travel to the voting station where you are registered because you are physically infirm, disabled or pregnant, voting officials will visit you at the place where you&39;re living (must be within the voting district where you&39;re registered) and allow you to vote.

If you can travel, but can’t vote at the voting station where you are registered on election day, you will vote at the voting station where you are registered on the date specified in the election timetable (usually a day or two before election day).

If your application for a special vote is successful, you will vote as follows:

  • Your thumbnail is marked with indelible ink.
  • Your ID book is stamped.
  • You receive the relevant ballot paper(s).
  • You mark the ballot(s) in secret, place and seal the ballot(s) in an unmarked envelope
  • The unmarked envelope is placed in another envelope that is marked with your name, ID number and voting district (VD) number. The use of two envelopes is to ensure the secrecy of your ballot (the outer envelope is discarded before counting).
  • IEC officials take the envelope and place it in a secure ballot box for special votes.
  • Your name is marked off the Voters’ Roll with “SV” to indicate that you have cast a special vote.

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Is there assistance for people with disabilities?

The Electoral Commission (IEC), together with the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB), has developed a voting aid, the Universal Ballot Template (UBT), to assist persons with disabilities and special needs to have an independent and secret vote during elections.

The UBT can be used by:

  • Blind and partially-sighted people
  • Low-vision users
  • People who are dyslexic
  • The elderly
  • People with low literacy
  • People with motor and nervous conditions which do not allow for a steady hand

To find out more about the UBT, you can download the fact sheet here.

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Who is my ward councillor?

You can SMS your ID number to 32245 (R1 per SMS sent or received) to find out who your ward councillor is.

Alternatively you can visit the IEC website here.

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How do I contact the Independent Electoral Commission?

Contact Centre:

0800 11 8000 Mon-Fri from 7am to 9pm

Website:

www.elections.org.za

Social media (responsive Mon-Fri from 8am to 5pm):

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/IECSouthAfrica

Twitter:

@IECSouthAfrica

Email:
[email protected]

SMS:

32810 (SMS your ID number for your registration status and details of current voting station)

USSD:
*120*432 or *120*IEC

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Can I stand as an independent candidate?

Any registered voter in a municipality may stand for election as a ward councillor in that municipality.

All candidates must submit to the local office of the Electoral Commission in the municipality where they are contesting elections:

Nomination of the independent candidate form combined with acceptance of nomination and 50 signatures of supporters for the candidate

  • A copy of their identity document;
  • An election deposit of R1000 payable by bank guaranteed cheque or any legislated method or proof of payment;
  • An A5 colour photo (head and shoulders) of the candidate.

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How do I register my political party?

Any party that wants to participate in an election must register with the Electoral Commission.

Registering at national level will allow your party to contest elections of the National Assembly, provincial legislatures and all municipal councils.

However, you may choose to register only at municipal level for a particular municipality or municipalities, and your party will then only be allowed to contest municipal elections for those particular municipal councils stated in your registration application.

To register to contest elections in only a specific municipality or municipalities, you must submit:

  • A completed application for registration;
  • A copy of the party&39;s constitution;
  • A Deed of Foundation signed by 100* registered voters who support the founding of the party (Annexure 6 of the Regulations);
  • Two sets of the party logo or symbol design in colour;
  • R200 registration fee per municipality;
  • A party applying for registration at Municipal level must place a Notice in a local newspaper ( Annexure 2of the Regulations) and must submit proof of such publication (hard copy of the newspaper page).

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