The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, in her capacity as the chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Local Government Elections, is calling on and encouraging all eligible South Africans to visit the 23 146 voting stations across the country between 8 am and 5 pm to register or verify their details during the upcoming voter registration weekend, 18 and 19 September 2021.
The voter registration weekend comes after the Constitutional Court decision that the local elections should take place as per the legal timeframes. Since the court’s decision, the Minister of CoGTA, after consultation with the IEC has determined that elections will take place on 01 November 2021. The IEC has thus determined that a physical registration weekend is required ahead of the election.
Following the voter registration weekend, on September 20, 2021, the Minister will proclaim November 1st as the date of the 2021 Local Government Elections, as required by the law which stipulates that elections must be held within 90 days of the end of a five-year term of local government.
The Minister encourages all eligible South Africans, particularly youth and first-time voters, to participate as active citizens and supporters of democracy by registering to vote in the upcoming 2021 Local Elections as they are a Constitutionally guaranteed opportunity for citizens to elect members of municipal councils in their respective wards to represent their voices in local governance for the next five years.
We all have a civic duty of registering to vote for the local government elections. Our vote in local elections is significant because it renews the mandate of local government and keeps the flame of democracy burning brightly as we continue to strive for a better tomorrow and a brighter future for all citizens of our democratic country.
As we prepare to go out to various voting stations, let us remember that Covid-19 is still a part of us, despite the sustained decline in infections across the country over the last few weeks. We should still adhere to all protocols so that we can protect ourselves, loved ones and communities. Let us remember to wear a mask at all times, social distance, wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
In conjunction with health and disaster management agencies, the IEC performed a detailed review to ensure that mitigating measures are in place to ensure that elections can be held safely. The IEC also drew heavily on the experiences of over a hundred countries and territories around the world that have successfully held elections under COVID-19.
It is important to acknowledge the unparalleled circumstances this year’s elections will be held under due to Covid-19 with the only solution being vaccination. We welcome the fact that over a quarter of all adult South Africans have received at least one vaccine dose and more than 7 million people are fully vaccinated, however we need to do more.
We urge people to vaccinate in an effort to defeat Covid-19 in order for us to go back to our normal lives, as the chance of new and more dangerous variants emerging is far greater if more people are still not vaccinated.
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