SA will officially go to the polls on November 1, and this is what will happen leading up to election day

A lot needs to happen in the next 43 days.

The IEC says five voting stations, In KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, had not been open by 5pm on Wednesday as a result of ongoing community protests.
The IEC says five voting stations, In KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, had not been open by 5pm on Wednesday as a result of ongoing community protests.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

It's official, South Africans will cast their votes in the local government elections on November 1, after the date was formally gazetted on Monday.

But a lot needs to happen in the next 43 days.

According to their gazetted timeline, also on Monday, the IEC outlined its checks and balances, deadlines and processes covering the next six weeks.

The first deadlines are as early as this morning, Tuesday, September 21.

The IEC said in its gazette that the chief electoral officer must make available segments of the provisionally compiled voters’ roll for inspection and objections, with this taking place from September 21-23. The commission then has one day, until September 24, to finalise all objections.

“By September 26 2021, the chief electoral officer must certify the voters’ roll or the municipality’s segments of the voters’ roll to be used in the election ... and make those segments available for inspection by September. 26,” the gazette reads.

Another of Tuesday's deadlines is registration of candidates for the election - a process already mired in controversy after the ANC failed to meet the original deadline. The submissions must be accompanied by payments and full documentation, which must meet the same deadline.

Linked to this, by the following day, September 22, all parties are required to answer any requests from the commission to provide it with certain information - with a failure to comply resulting in “disqualification of the candidate concerned”. If it chose to provide the information, it would have until September 23 to do so.

Another crucial date in the process is September 29. By then, the commission has to:

  • compile the list of registered parties entitled to contest the election;
  • certify the party lists; and
  • keep the lists available at the office of the commission’s local representative.

On the same date, it has to provide the details of every candidate for every ward.

“By September 29, the commission must compile and certify for each ward contested in the election, a list of candidates contesting the ward, certify the lists for the election, and keep copies of the lists available at the office of the commission’s local representative,” the gazette reads.

Then, by October 1, exactly a month before the vote, the IEC has to issue a “candidate certificate” to every candidate taking part.

Of particular interest will be special votes, especially given that this is the first time that an election has taken place on a Monday. Traditionally, the voting is on a Wednesday, with special votes taking place on the two days prior.

This time around, the gazette reads, anyone wanting to cast a special vote must do so by October 4.

“On October 30 and 31, voters who successfully applied to cast their special votes at the voting station may visit the station between 8am and 5pm to cast their special votes. On October 30 and 31, voting officers must visit voters who successfully applied to cast their special votes at their places of residence, to afford them the opportunity to cast their votes there,” the gazette reads.

Starting two weeks before the election, on October 15, the IEC has to provide a list of all voting stations and their addresses for inspection at the office of the commission’s local representative.

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