LGE ballots will have some new faces in Northern Cape

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Whether it is October this year or February next, local government elections (LGE) ballots are expected to feature several new faces. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has received a number of applications for the local government elections, most of them are from service delivery forums.

In the Northern Cape, at least six new parties have applied to contest municipal elections. Analysts say this is due to various problems in the municipalities.

Kimberley’s Sol Plaatje municipality, Dikgatlong in Barkley West, and Warrenton’s Phokwane Municipality are all expected to feature at least one new party on the ballot during the elections.

There have been several service delivery protests in those areas in the last five years.

“But all this is an indication of, as I’ve indicated, the vibrancy of democracy. But it also tells you that all these parties have observed that there are gaps between your more formal political parties and the residents in these particular areas, ” says Political Analyst Professor Sethulego Matebesi.

Despite the election date still being subject to a Constitutional Court hearing, the IEC says it is still processing applications.

“During the elections, the commission drafts a timetable, and one of the important elements in the timetable is the nomination of candidates and if a party intends to contest an election, pays the necessary deposit, then the party is free to submit a list of candidates,” says IEC Northern Cape’s Bonolo Modise.

Impact of smaller parties 

Analysts say smaller parties are not expected to drastically change the playing field, but they will have some influence.

“We’ve already seen how in certain municipal councils that some of the civil organisations, whether they have one or two reps they become kingmakers, they dictate who at the end of the day becomes the mayor,” says Sethulego.

Opposition against postponement of elections

The Constitutional Court is expected to hear next week the IEC’s application to postpone the local government elections to February next year.

The Democratic Alliance is among those opposing the application:

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) filed an urgent intervention application to the Constitutional Court to oppose the IEC’s application to have the elections postponed.

The papers were filed Thursday afternoon. The party is requesting the apex court to grant them the right to intervene as a respondent in the Electoral Commission’s application and to hand in written submissions by Monday 16 August and oral submissions next week Friday.

Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has set down the 20 August to hear the IEC’s application.