The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Des van Rooyen urges the registered voters in Metsimaholo local municipality to vote in the by-elections on 29 November 2017. This by elections will be contested in 21 wards and 59 voting districts of the Metsimaholo Local Municipality which is under the Fezile Dabi District of the Free State Province.
Being responsible for local government and in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on elections, Minister van Rooyen indicated that the succesful by-elections in Metsimaholo is vital for ensuring communities receive the services that they deserve. H further emphasised that succesful by-elections will set us on course to achieving the goals we set ourselves and building effective and efficient functioning local government.
Minister van Rooyen will be briefed on all processes towards ensuring a succesful elections and then visit the voting stations on 29 November 2017 to assess the voting processes.
The by elections follows the decision by the Free State Provincial Government to dissolve the municipality’s former coalition government in July 2017 in terms of Section 139 (4) of the Constitution which provides for the dissolution of a municipal council where it fails in its legal obligation to approve a budget. The dissolution follows the failure of Metsimaholo council to table a budget of the municipality for the 2017/18 financial year which was due on 30 June 2017.
Guided by the Constitutional Court ruling of 14 June 2016 which indicated that the voters’ roll for all by-elections after the 2016 Municipal Elections must contain addresses for voters where available and must ensure that voters are placed in the correct ward and voting district, it was clear that the Metsimaholo by-elections will not be held within the prescribed constitutional period of 90 days.
To this effect, the Electoral Court agreed to an extension to hold by-elections for the dissolved municipality of Metsimaholo by the end of November 2017 so as to allow the Electoral Commission to update the voters roll. This was a date outside of the Constitutional 90 day window period during which by-elections must be held from the date of the Municipality was dissolved. Work ensued to across the municipality to update and check the voters roll to include addresses for voters in the 21 wards and 59 voting districts, which had approximately 22 000 voters out 78 000 registered voters (28 percent) who did not have addresses captured on the voter’s roll.
“We all have a role to play in strengthening our democracy, hence i urge South Africans not to be complacent, your vote is your power; it allows you to elect representatives to manage your interests and ensures that you have a direct say in what happens in your community”, said Minister.
Minister expressed confidence that these by-elections will build on our proud record of hosting credible elections. In conclusion, he urged all political parties, registered voters and communities in general to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with holding free and elections.
Working together, we can deliver a succesful by-elections in Metsimaholo.
CoGTA Head of Communications
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