Cabinet condemns voter registration weekend violence

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Pretoria – Cabinet has condemned violence in some areas that marred the voter registration weekend on 5 and 6 March.

It said no one has the right to prevent anyone from exercising their democratic right to register to vote. It called on all those responsible to desist from such criminal activities and for those affected to report them to law-enforcement agencies, who must take strong action against law-breakers.

Cabinet also called on protesters to act with the utmost restraint and express their grievances within the confines of the law and the Constitution.

Cabinet thanked all South Africans who responded to the call by the Electoral Commission for people to register during the first voter registration weekend.

The voting registration stations were opened on 5 and 6 March for voters to register for the first time, check their registration status and update their details on the voters’ roll.

“About three million people visited polling stations countrywide and 544 552 of the new registrations (78.6%) were under the age of 30, which demonstrates the willingness by South Africans to participate in building our democracy,” Cabinet said in a statement on Thursday.

Cabinet urged South Africans, who have not yet registered to do so. The final registration weekend will take place on 9 and 10 April, when all voting stations will again be open from 8am to 5pm.

“This will be the last opportunity for voters to register and update their registration details at their voting stations. However, registration is ongoing at local IEC offices during office hours from Monday to Friday, until the voters’ roll for the 2016 Municipal Elections closes on the day the elections are promulgated,” Cabinet said.

Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill

Meanwhile, Cabinet has approved the submission of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill of 2016 to Parliament.

“Amendments are being made to the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act 117 of 1998), which was enacted prior to the first democratic local government elections which took place on 5 December 2000,” said Cabinet.

The amendments will improve the administration of local government elections and among other changes, seek to:

  • amend criteria for Category A municipalities;
  • remove all references to district management areas;
  • clarify the date of assumption of office by a councillor;
  • determine the President must set and call the date for the municipal elections;
  • allow for extension in the declaration of results of an election;
  • require a municipal manager to inform the IEC of ward vacancies;
  • determine that a Member of the Executive Council calls and sets the date for by-elections;
  • clarify the quorum requirements for a council meeting;
  • clarify the circumstances for the casting vote of a councillor presiding during a council meeting;
  • increase variance of the number of voters in each ward during a council meeting; and
  • increase variance of the number of voters in each ward during a demarcation to clarify the allocation of excessive seats in local municipalities.