IEC asks Cyril Ramaphosa for local government election day to be declared a public holiday
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Johannesburg - The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) has asked Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to request President Cyril Ramaphosa, to declare the day of the local government elections, on November 1, a public holiday.
Chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo announced on Thursday that it wrote to Motsoaledi to facilitate the request.
“This intervention is aimed at affording all voters an equal footing to participate in the elections without being encumbered by business and employment considerations on the day of voting,” Mamabolo said.
He said the IEC was grateful that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga adjusted the national senior certificate examination timetable to accommodate the November 1 municipal polls.
Motshekga’s department announced this week that final school year exams were brought forward and would start on October 27 to accommodate the elections.
“This gesture from the minister will enable young voters who are writing these examinations to participate in the elections,” said Mamabolo.
The IEC also assured voters that voter registration stations would be safe and that the necessary preventative measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 would be in place in over 23 100 registration stations across the country this weekend.
The IEC promised voters and its staff that their safety was a key priority including over the voter registration weekend as well as other subsequent election-related events.
Mamabolo said registration protocols such as wearing of face masks or cloth covering of the nose and mouth, a minimum of 1.5m social distance and sanitising of hands upon entry into the station will apply at all registration stations.
The IEC has also issued a stern warning to communities and political party members unhappy with the candidate nomination process not to disrupt this weekend’s voter registration drive.
“We have been working with the Natjoints (National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure), we also had a priority committee meeting this morning where possible hotspots have been identified and they have been handed over to the SA Police Service, who will provide the necessary security for people,” Mamabolo assured voters.
According to Mamabolo, no one should be interrupted even if people are unhappy about any other process be it from a political party or from the municipality or any matter.
“It does not grant you the right to disrupt the registration process.
“We urge all communities across the country this is not a process to disrupt; this is about people vindicating their right to vote.
“These are constitutional rights and you have no right to interfere with them,” he said.
Mamabolo also disputed the EFF’s claim on Wednesday that the IEC’s online voter registration portal was “off-line and has consistently been unreliable with the process of getting people registered successfully with no struggles over the past few days”.
He said online registration portal’s glitches had not been over the past week.
”Yesterday (Wednesday) we experienced a technical glitch which we resolved by 4pm.
“Otherwise the system has been functioning relatively well.
“There is a backlog off course which we are addressing manually where people scanned photos of their IDs incorrectly and so on but other than yesterday when we experienced a technical glitch the online system has been functioning as well as it should,” Mamabolo said.
The IEC said 23 151 voter registration stations across the country would open from 8am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday with 48 899 officials.