The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says everything is ready for by-elections in the Mangaung Metro and Dihlabeng Municipality in the Free State.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), African National Congress (ANC) and an independent candidate will be contesting. The vacancies are as a result of the death of ANC councillors in wards 11 and 20.
Nationally, 24 wards will be contested during Wednesday’s by-elections.
Voting stations are open till 9pm for today’s #byelections in 24 wards in SA affecting nearly 170k voters. Bring your ID & mask. By-elections are held under strict #covid19SA protocols aimed at ensuring safety of voters, election staff, party agents & others. #VoteSafe pic.twitter.com/MEWsPJ64mQ
— IEC South Africa (@IECSouthAfrica) December 9, 2020
Both municipalities have experienced political instability and service delivery issues.
Mangaung Executive Mayor Olly Mlamleli was ousted and the municipality is under administration, while in Dihlabeng, the ANC regional task team is demanding the axing of the executive mayor.
Residents say there is a lack of service delivery and have labelled leaders in their communities as corrupt.
The Free State Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs says following the Auditor General`s report that painted a bleak picture of municipalities, service delivery is closely monitored.
The IEC is expecting more than 9 000 voters in the Mangaung Metro municipality and more than 4 000 in Dihlabeng to cast their votes.
IEC Free State representative Mankae Ncheche says: “We have opened our stations on time this morning and the special votes are continuing smoothly. There are no incidents that have been reported or any objections. All our voting stations have opened on time and people are visiting those voters who have applied to be assisted at their homes so we have the assurance that by the end of the day at 5 pm, everyone who has applied to be visited their homes will be visited during that time.”
In the four wards contested in the Free State in the November by-elections, the ANC retained three while the Democratic Alliance (DA) won one.