The date has been set. South Africans will head to the polls on 1 November 2021 to elect their local government officials as 257 municipalities will be contested.
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma made the announcement yesterday. Earlier this year, Dlamini-Zuma proclaimed the elections will take place on 27 August 2021.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had then approached the constitutional court asking for the minister to withdraw her election date proclamation and issue a new notice informing the public that the elections will be moved to 28 February 2022. On Friday, the IEC’s application to move the local government elections was rejected by the court.
“After consultation with the IEC, we've come to the determination that this year's Local Government Election will be held on Monday 1 November 2021,” proclaimed Dlamini-Zuma.
Voter Registrations will now take place in person on the weekend of 18 and 19 September 2021 and the election will be held on 1 November 2021.
The election date does however clash with a Grade 12 English language exam. This is a challenge as schools are often used as voting stations around the country and the English exam is written by all students.
The spokesperson for the Basic Education Department, Elijah Mhlanga, says the department will now have to reschedule the exam. He says they are currently looking at two different options.
The two options being either to hold the examination on the original date of the election (27 August 2021) or to schedule it at the end of the examination period which would see it written in the first week of December.
Mhlanga says that the schools will be handed over the IEC in order to ensure that they qualify as polling stations.
He also says that making the schools Covid-19 compliant and ensuring social distancing should be easy for the IEC. “We have already been doing it which means those schools already have markings on the floor and elsewhere the environment has been created for adherence to Covid-19 safety regulations” added Mhlanga.