Cabinet sets up committee to prepare for 2021 municipal election

Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu.
Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/Business Day

Fresh from a national electoral contest last month, cabinet has moved swiftly to set up an interministerial committee (IMC) to manage logistical and administrative preparations for municipal elections in 2021.

This is according to minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu, who was addressing the media on Thursday on the outcomes of the fortnightly cabinet meeting that was held in Cape Town.

Mthembu said the IMC, to be chaired by cooperative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, would work with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and other relevant bodies to ensure that preparations for the next municipal election went ahead without glitches.

Mthembu also said the IMC would be working closely with the municipal demarcation board to ensure that municipal boundary issues, which affect the wards and municipalities to be contested in 2021, are finalised way head of that election.

The IMC would also comprise of other ministers such as Tito Mboweni of finance, Aaron Motsoaledi from home affairs, Mthembu himself as well as Ayanda Dlodlo from state security. Justice minister Ronald Lamola would also form part of the IMC.

Directors-general from these departments would also constitute the IMC's technical support team.

"This is not the first time we set up an IMC on elections by the way… we have done so in the past when we had the last local government elections in 2016," Mthembu said.

"There was  an IMC on those local government elections. Mainly the work of the committee is to deal with any matter which may militate adversely towards the holding of local government elections, whether they are security related… some may be home affairs related, as we all know you need to  have an ID to vote.

"Some of the work that will have to be done in the lead-up to the elections, among others, is to ensure that municipal boundaries are concluded. So this committee, amongst other things, will have to work with the municipal demarcation board around these issues, so this committee of cabinet will then become a link between all these bodies responsible for elections in our country, including by the IEC.

"The IEC must have a government body that they must interact with on whatever issues that they think might disturb the election, that body in the cabinet's view is the IMC." 

He added that cabinet was concerned about this year's municipal audit outcomes released by auditor-general Kimi Makwetu on Wednesday, showing that only a mere 18 municipalities out of 257 had obtained clean audits.

Mthembu said it was worrying that Makwetu's auditors had been at the receiving end of death threats and other acts of intimidation during the execution of their duties.

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