“There are some challenges obviously with a programme of this magnitude. Of the key issues around elections in the county is that there's an inverse relationship in terms of turnout between national and provincial elections, where there is a continuous decline in the rate of participation,” he said.
The commission said turnout for the past two municipal elections in 2011 and 2016 showed encouraging growth, while the national provincial election turn out in 2014 and 2019 showed an 8% decline.
On social unrest, the commission said statistics from municipal IQ showed a steady rise of service delivery protests over the past decade, with more than 450 incidents reported in 2018 and 2019. The protests often targeted municipal facilities where elections took place and this posed a risk to conducting smooth elections.
On political violence, the commission said 90 municipal councillors, party officials and senior municipal officials had been murdered in KwaZulu-Natal since 2015. Though other provinces did not record high numbers, the commission said they had not been immune to such incidents.
“As we approach the local government elections, the electoral commission appeals to all contestants, parties and voters to respect human life and the sanctity of the electoral process to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.”