Municipal Elections 2021 – what you need to know

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1. When will the 2021 Municipal Elections be held?
Section 159 of the Constitution provides that a term of a municipal council is 5 years and that elections must take place within 90 days of expiry of the term. The last municipal elections were held on 3 August 2016. For the 2021 Municipal Elections that window starts on 4 August and ends on 1 November 2021. In line with this, the Honourable President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced the earmark date for the elections of 27 October 2021. The announcement follows extensive consultation between the Electoral Commission and the Minister of COGTA, as required by electoral legislation, for much of the past two years. We anticipate that the Honourable Minister of COGTA Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will proclaim the elections by early August.

2. How do the Municipal Elections differ from the national and provincial elections?
The municipal elections are held every five years to elect members of municipal councils – i.e. your city or town councillors who will run your municipality for the next five years. In the national and provincial elections – which are also held every five years – voters elect members of Parliament and members of the provincial legislatures.

3. How many municipalities are there?
The number of municipalities is 257:
 8 metropolitan municipalities
 205 local municipalities
 44 district municipalities
This is unchanged from 2016 Municipal Elections.

4. What do you vote for in the municipal elections?
In Municipal Elections you elect your local councillors who serve on the council for a 5-year term:
 50 percent of councillors on the council are elected directly as ward councillors to represent a specific ward. These councillors are elected using a “First past the post” system which means the candidate with the most votes wins.
 50 percent of councillors on the council are elected via the Proportional Representation method (via party lists)
This means each voter gets to vote for both a ward councillor and for a political party.
If you live in a metro you will get two ballot papers – one to elect your ward councillor and one to vote for the political party you want to run your city.
If you live in a local municipality you will get a third ballot paper which is also a vote for a political party to represent your local municipality on the district council.

5. Who can vote?
All registered voters aged 18 or older on Election Day is eligible to vote in the elections.
You may only vote in the voting district of the ward in which you are registered and ordinarily resident.
Register where you live, and vote where you’re registered!

6. Who can register as a voter?
Any South African citizen aged 16 years and older can register as a voter as long as they are in possession of a valid South African ID document namely:
 A smart card ID
 A green barcoded ID book
 A valid temporary ID certificate
Remember – you have to be at least 18 years old on the day of elections to vote

7. Where do you register?
All eligible voters must register within the voting district where they ordinarily reside. Voters can register in three ways:
A. At their voting station between 8am and 5pm on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 July 2021
B. At their local IEC office (which are usually located at municipal offices) weekdays between 8am and 4pm

8. How do I find my voting station?
There are two ways voters can find their correct voting station:
A. Call the Electoral Commission Contact Centre on 0800 11 8000 between 8am and 5pm weekdays and the on the registration weekend. Contact Centre agents are also available to assist voters on Twitter (@IECSouthAfrica), Facebook (IECSouthAfrica), email (info@elections.org.za) and webchat at www.elections.org.za.
B. Use the voting station finder app on the IEC website at www.elections.org.za

9. What do you need to register as a voter?
When going to register as a voter you need to take with you:

 A valid South Africa ID document (Either a smart card ID, a green barcoded ID book or a valid temporary ID certificate)
 Details of the address where you ordinarily reside
Remember: COVID-19 protocols apply:
 You must wear a mask at all times
 You must observer social distancing
 You are welcome to bring your own pen if you wish (although pens will be provided and sanitized)
Remember: You must register “in person” – you can’t send someone to register on your behalf.

10. Must you provide proof of address?
Voters are required to provide details of their physical residential address but are NOT required to provide proof of address (i.e. you don’t need a municipal account or other documentation proving where you live).

11. How does the registration process work and how long does it take?
A voter who elects to apply to register in person at their voting station or local IEC office will have their ID card/document scanned by an official using a Voter Management Device.
The voter will then be asked for certain contact details followed by their residential address where they ordinarily reside so that the voter can be registered in the correct voting district.
At the end of the process the voter will receive an SMS and/or email confirming the outcome of their application to register as a voter
A voter can check their registration by calling the Contact Centre on 0800 11 8000 or SMS your ID number to 32810 (at R1).

12. What should you do if you are already registered as a voter?
If you are already registered as a voter then you do not need to register again – unless you have moved residence since you registered. If you have moved, then you must  A valid South Africa ID document (Either a smart card ID, a green barcoded ID book or a valid temporary ID certificate)
 Details of the address where you ordinarily reside
Remember: COVID-19 protocols apply:
 You must wear a mask at all times
 You must observer social distancing
 You are welcome to bring your own pen if you wish (although pens will be provided and sanitized)
Remember: You must register “in person” – you can’t send someone to register on your behalf.

10. Must you provide proof of address?
Voters are required to provide details of their physical residential address but are NOT required to provide proof of address (i.e. you don’t need a municipal account or other documentation proving where you live).

11. How does the registration process work and how long does it take?
A voter who elects to apply to register in person at their voting station or local IEC office will have their ID card/document scanned by an official using a Voter Management Device.
The voter will then be asked for certain contact details followed by their residential address where they ordinarily reside so that the voter can be registered in the correct voting district.
At the end of the process the voter will receive an SMS and/or email confirming the outcome of their application to register as a voter
A voter can check their registration by calling the Contact Centre on 0800 11 8000 or SMS your ID number to 32810 (at R1).

12. What should you do if you are already registered as a voter?
If you are already registered as a voter then you do not need to register again – unless you have moved residence since you registered. If you have moved, then you must update your voter registration details to reflect your latest address and other contact details.
You can do this:
A. At a voting station within their ward between 8am and 5pm on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 July 2021
B. At a local IEC office (which are usually located at municipal offices) weekdays between 8am and 4pm

13. How do I check your current voter registration details?
Voters who are already registered can:
A. SMS their ID number to 32810 (cost R1) to receive confirmation of their voter registration details including the name of their voting station
B. Enter your ID number on the Voting Station Finder facility on the homepage of the IEC website (elections.org.za)
C. Call the Electoral Commission Contact Centre on 0800 11 8000 between 7am and 9pm weekdays. Contact Centre agents are also available to assist voters on Twitter (@IECSouthAfrica), Facebook (IECSouthAfrica) and email (info@elections.org.za)

14. What happens if you are registered in the wrong ward?
It is a criminal offence to knowingly register in a ward in which you are not ordinarily resident. If you have moved house since you registered then you need to update your registration details (see 12 above).
If you are not sure about where to register you can call the Contact Centre or visit your local IEC office for assistance.
Registration officials will also be on hand at all voting stations on the registration weekend of 17 – 18 July to assist voters.

Electoral Commission launches Municipal Elections 2021

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