lEC releases final election list

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pretoria - A staggering 51 163 candidates will contest this year's Local Government Elections, up by more than 6 000 compared to the previous municipal elections held in 2006.

This comes as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced on Tuesday that it had finalised the candidate list for the election to be held on 18 May, with 121 political parties meeting the deadline to submit their preferred representatives. 

Of the 51 163, 28 190 are party ward candidates, and 22 251 are party proportional list candidates. The number of independent ward candidates also increased from 667 in 2006 to 722 this year.

Speaking to reporters in Centurion, IEC Chief Electoral Officer Pansy Tlakula attributed the significant increase in the candidate list to the "confidence" contesting individuals had in the country's electoral system.

"The increases in nominations is an indication of a broadening in electoral participation at local level and is very encouraging as far as the entrenchment of democratic processes is concerned," she said.

Leaders of the political parties will next week sign a code of conduct as per IEC rules. 

Tlakula admitted that the IEC was often faced with challenges, as the nomination process was often complicated by intra-party disputes, which resulted in a number of court battles with the last judgment only being passed within the last hour before the closure of nominations.

A large number of nominations for the upcoming election also did not meet the IEC requirements, with 4 746 candidates disqualified as compared to just 932 in 2006. Reasons for disqualification included failure to submit copies of IDs, signatures and acceptance of nomination. 

"Apart from these non-compliance issues, a number of nominations were not accepted as it was attempted to submit them after the close of nominations or they were presented at a location other than the municipality which was being contested," said Tlakula.

The ruling African National Congress will be the only party contesting all the 278 municipalities, followed by the Democratic Alliance with 272, while COPE is set to contest in 214 municipalities. 

The ward ballot papers with the most candidates are Ward 24 and Ward 79, both situated in Cape Town. 

The party proportional list ballot paper with the most contesting parties is also situated in Cape Town, with a total of 32 parties fighting it out for the control of the Mother City. 

There was also a slight improvement in the gender distribution of candidates, with the percentage of women candidates having increased from 35 percent in 2006 to 37 percent in 2011. But the IEC said the figure remained disappointing. 

The order of parties on the proportional list ballot papers will be decided when the IEC holds a draw on Wednesday to determine which party gets the first spot. - BuaNews