Candidate lists finalised for Metsimaholo by-elections

The Electoral Commission has certified the candidate lists for ward and PR by-elections to be held for all 42 seats in the Metsimaholo Municipal Council on 29 November 2017.

The by-election will see 393 candidates presenting 15 political parties contesting for the 21 ward and 21 PR seats. There are 282 ward candidates and 111 PR candidates. Women comprise 42.5% of the candidates and the age of candidates range from 19 years old to 78 years old.

The by-election follows the dissolution of the council in terms of Section 139 (4) of the Constitution which provides for the dissolution of a municipality where it cannot fulfill its obligation to approve a budget. The Metsimaholo council failed to table a budget for the municipality for the 2017/18 financial year which was due on 30 June 2017 leading the Executive Council for the Free State to dissolve the council and appoint an administrator for 90 days.

The municipality had been governed by a coalition of the Democratic Alliance, the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Metsimaholo Community Association, and the Vryheidsfront Plus following the 2016 Municipal Elections. The results of the 2016 Municipal Elections saw the African National Congress winning 16 ward and 3 PR seats, the Democratic Alliance winning 5 ward and 7 PR seats, the Economic Freedom Fighters winning 8 PR seats, the Metsimaholo Community Association winning 2 PR seats and 1 PR seat which was won by the Vryheidsfront Plus.

The candidates contesting the by-elections on 29 November represent the African Christian Democratic Party, African Independent Congress, African National Congress, Congress of the People, Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, Forum 4 Service Delivery, Metsimaholo Community Association, Pan African Congress of Azania, People’s Movement, Power of Africans Unity, South African Communist Party, United Democratic Movement, Uniting People First, and Vryheidsfront Plus. No independent candidates are contesting the elections.

There are 82 666 registered voters in Metsimaholo – up 3.7% from the 79 675 voters who registered for the 2016 Municipal Elections.

In preparing for these by-elections – as with all other by-elections since 2016 Municipal Elections - the Electoral Commission has undertaken a variety of initiatives to update the voters’ roll with addresses of voters. These initiatives have seen the number of voters without addresses reduced from 35% (28 225) in August 2016 to 18% (15 116). 

Among the initiatives undertaken included:
• continuous registration at the local office of the Electoral Commission;
• a voter registration weekend during which all 59 voting stations in the 21 wards of the local council were opened; 
• the launch of the on-line address facility that allows registered voters to provide and update their address details; 
• distribution of SMSs to registered voters alerting them to the on-line facility and the voter registration weekend; 
• a promotional message included on the Metsimaholo municipal services accounts encouraging residents to provide and update their registration address details; 
• direct telephone calls to registered voters in Metsimaholo without an address recorded on the voters’ roll with a view to obtaining such address details before the certification of the voters’ roll for the by-elections
• a targeted voter registration drive aimed at registered voters without a recorded address on the voters’ roll; and 
• various media campaigns.

The Electoral Commission also worked in conjunction with political parties contesting the by-elections to help update and improve the voters’ roll including providing parties with a copy of the voters’ roll and lists of voters without addresses for assistance in obtaining addresses and identifying any incorrectly registered voters. 

Applications for special votes close on 17 November at 17h00 and special voting will be held on 28 November ahead of the by-election on 29 November. Voting hours are 07H00 to 21H00.

Ensuring free and fair elections

15 November 2017

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