The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the North West says it is all systems go for the voter registration weekend in the Lichtenburg-based Ditsobotla local municipality ahead of the much-anticipated by-elections in December.
The by-elections come after the troubled municipal council was disbanded in September because it was dysfunctional and unable to execute its constitutional obligations.
Political parties in the North West who will be contesting in the Ditsobotla Local Municipality are hard at work campaigning for the upcoming by-election. Thousands of residents of the towns of Lichtenburg, Coligny, and surrounds are expected to flock to a hundred different voting stations, this weekend to register to vote in December.
The IEC says it is targeting at least 25% of the population of 68 000 people in the municipality to vote in the by-elections. North West Provincial electoral officer Dr. Tumelontle Thiba explains:
“The province is indeed ready for the registration weekend and I dare to say for the entire by-election period. we have already started this morning with targeted communication and registration. We are looking for those voters whose addresses we need and those who might be outside the boundary of the wards. We just want to make sure that everyone is registered in the correct wards so that we minimise the chances of intentional and unintentional election fraud.”
Thiba says although she hopes for disruption-free by-elections, they are prepared for any eventuality.
“Given the nature of the stability of the local municipality, we could say that there could be incidents of disgruntlement. There is a potential for some members of the public to use the registration weekend or the election day to express their disgruntlement with the government and the provincial government and the government in general. we are anticipating that and we are planning for it.”
The African National Congress (ANC), which has been the majority party in the municipality since the dawn of democracy, will be deploying its bigwigs to lead their campaign.
For some opposition parties, this is an opportunity to increase their support base.
Stations will open for registrations at 8 am on Saturday and Sunday and close at 17H00.