The Electoral Code of Conduct Observer Commission (ECCOC) is calling for tolerance, respect and responsible voting as the Municipal Elections kick off on Monday morning.
More than 26 million voters are expected to cast their ballots in the sixth democratic Municipal Elections. It will be the first time that South Africa goes to the polls under lockdown and during a pandemic.
ECCOC Co-Chairperson, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has asked political leaders to act responsibly.
“To the political leaders and representatives, my hope and prayer is that you act responsibly and with reverence to the process and that the electorate must choose wisely and not only exercising their right to vote but hold those they have voted (for) to account in term of delivering of much-needed services on the ground. I pray for tolerance and respect and I hope that once the IEC announced the outcomes as free and fair, that all will remember that we are on the same side South Africa and one South Africa. We will accept the outcomes and move on the process of building this democracy,” says Makgoba.
More than 300 voting station hotspots have been identified across the country where law enforcement agencies will be deployed.
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Concerns over voter turnout
There are concerns that the voter turnout for the local government elections may be negatively affected by various factors such as the long weekend; reports of inclement weather in some parts of the country; prevailing voter apathy and disgruntlement; as well as possible fear of COVID-19 infection.
— Ulrich Hendriks (@UlrichHendriks) November 1, 2021
Local government elections have had lower turnout in the past two elections. In 2016 the voter turnout was 58% while in 2011 it was 57.6%.
IEC’s Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo has expressed concerns.
“If you have travelled, please do come back to your voting station on time because you won’t be able to vote anywhere else but the voting district where you are registered unlike in national and provincial elections where you will have an opportunity to vote outside of your district. So all those who may have travelled have until tomorrow really to travel back to the place where they are registered,” said Mamabolo.
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