How to contest municipal elections

This page provides guidelines to independent and party candidates wishing to contest municipal elections.

This page does not replace or obviate the legal requirements that must be met by candidates.

Municipal councils

The term of municipal councils is 5 years.

There are 3 types of Municipal Councils in South Africa:

  • Category A: 8 Metropolitan Councils;
  • Category B: 205 Local Councils (LC); and
  • Category C: 44 District Councils (DC) (have executive and legislative powers in areas that include local municipalities)

Types of municipal elections

Elections are contested in every municipality but the type of election is determined by the category of that municipality.

For metropolitan municipalities, there are 2 types of elections in each ward:

  • Metropolitan council ward, and
  • Metropolitan proportional representation.

In all local municipalities other than metropolitan municipalities, there are 3 types of elections in each ward:

  • Local council ward;
  • Local council proportional representation; and
  • District council proportional representation.

Contesting municipal elections

Independent and party ward candidates can contest:

  • a metropolitan council ward
    or
  • a local council ward.

Registered parties can contest:

  • the metropolitan council proportional representation elections
    or
  • the local council and district council proportional representation elections.

Membership of Municipal Councils

Every citizen who is qualified to vote for a municipal council is eligible to stand and to be elected as a member of that council, unless that person:

  • is in the service of that municipality and receives remuneration from that municipality and has not been exempted from disqualification in terms of national legislation;
  • is appointed by, or is in the service of the state in another sphere and receives remuneration for that appointment and has been disqualified from membership of a Municipal Council in terms of national legislation;
  • is disqualified from voting for the National Assembly;
  • has been declared an unrehabilitated insolvent;
  • has been declared to be of unsound mind by a court of the Republic;
  • is convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than twelve 12 months imprisonment without the option of a fine either in the Republic , or outside of the Republic if the conduct constituting the offence would have been an offence in the Republic and a period of 5 years has not elapsed since the sentence was completed;
  • is a member of the National Assembly, a delegate to the National Council of Provinces or a member of the provincial legislature, unless that person is a member of the municipal council representing local government in the National Council; or
  • is a member of another Municipal Council other than a Municipal Council representing that Council in a Municipal Council of a different category.

Deadlines

Once the election date has been proclaimed, the Electoral Commission (IEC) publishes an election timetable with deadlines that candidates and parties must meet.

Requirements for Nomination as a Proportional Representation Councillor

Only political parties registered with the Electoral Commission can submit candidate lists for proportional representation elections for either metropolitan municipalities OR local and district municipalities.

All candidates submitted for nomination must meet the requirements to be elected as a councillor.

To nominate party list candidates, the party must submit the following:

  • A copy of the page of each candidate’s identity document (ID) on which the candidate’s photo, name and ID number appear;
  • A Nomination of Party List Candidates signed by Authorised Party Representative which includes Undertaking to be bound by the Code of Conduct and Declaration that candidates are not disqualified from standing  (download Appendix 3: Nomination of Party List Candidates (PDF)). This form also contains the list of candidates which is in a fixed order of preference;
  • A prescribed acceptance of nomination form signed by each candidate which includes Undertaking to be bound by the Code of Conduct and Declaration that candidates are not disqualified from standing (download Appendix 4: Acceptance of Nomination on a Party or Ward List (PDF));
  • A copy of the page of each candidate’s identity document (ID) or front of Smart ID on which the candidate’s photo, name and ID number appear;
  • The prescribed election deposit paid by Bank guaranteed/Bank cheque or proof of payment of direct deposit in favour of the Electoral Commission;
  • Written proof of authorization to make nomination

PLEASE NOTE:
The Duly Authorised Party Representative to nominate candidates must furnish proof that he or she is authorised to nominate candidates.

Requirements for Nomination as a Ward Candidate

Ward elections in either a metropolitan or local municipality may be contested by an independent or party ward candidate who is eligible to stand to be elected as a councillor.

There are two types of ward elections:

  • Party ward candidates
  • Independent ward candidates

Party ward candidates

To nominate party ward candidates, parties must submit the following:

  • Nomination form which includes the list of party ward candidates signed by Authorised Party Representative (download Appendix 7: Nomination of Party Ward Candidates (PDF))
  • A prescribed acceptance of nomination form signed by each ward candidate which includes Undertaking to be bound by the Code of Conduct and Declaration that candidates are not disqualified from standing (download Appendix 4: Acceptance of Nomination on a Party or Ward List (PDF))
  • A copy of the page of the candidate’s identity document (ID) on which the candidate’s photo, name and ID number appear
  • The prescribed election deposit paid by Bank guaranteed/Bank cheque or proof of payment of direct deposit in favour of the Electoral Commission.

Independent ward candidates

An independent candidate may be nominated by a person who is:

  • Ordinarily resident in that municipality AND
  • Registered as a voter for that municipality

Independent ward candidates must submit:

  • Nomination signed by the Nominator and Acceptance of Nomination form also signed by Independent Ward Candidate with signatures of at least 50 voters whose name appear on the voters’ roll of any of the voting districts in the ward in which the independent candidate is standing (download Appendix 6: Nomination, Acceptance of Nomination and List of Supporters of Independent Ward Candidate (PDF))
  • A copy of the page of the candidate’s identity document (ID) on which the candidate’s photo, name and ID number appear
  • The prescribed election deposit paid by Bank guaranteed/Bank cheque or proof of payment of direct deposit in favour of the Electoral Commission – R1000.00
  • An A5-size Head and Shoulder photograph of the independent ward candidate.

The deadline for the submission of these documents is published in the election timetable (only available after the election date has been proclaimed).

District Electoral Officers

District Electoral Officers (DEOs) have been appointed for each District Council to administer party candidate nomination lists for the District Council Proportional Representation elections.

Election Deposits

The election deposits to be paid by bank guaranteed cheque made out to The Electoral Commission are:

  • R3,500 in respect of an election in a metropolitan municipality, which amount covers all ward and proportional representation elections in that metropolitan council;
  • R2,000 for a local council election, which amount covers all ward and proportional representation elections in that local council;
  • R1,000 for a local council without wards and in a district council election, which covers all ward and proportional representation elections in that local or district council; and
  • R1,000 per ward election in respect of an independent ward candidate and for a ward candidate nominated by a party who is not contesting an election of a relevant municipal council by way of a party list.

Central Payment

Central payment (download Appendix 24: Central payments of deposits (PDF)) can only be made at our national office in Centurion, not at provincial or municipal offices.

For more information, please contact our national office.