Electoral Commission clarifies requirements for the nomination of candidates as councillors

The Electoral Commission confirms that it was notified yesterday, 7 March 2023, of a proportional representative (PR) councillor vacancy in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality by the Municipal Manager.

A Municipal Manager is the lawfully authorised person to declare a vacancy in a Municipal Council. In the current case, the Municipal Manager has declared the vacancy because the councillor is disqualified in terms of the Constitution in that the councillor falls short of the requirements relating to persons that have been declared un-rehabilitated insolvents. The legal scheme requires a party that nominates a candidate and the candidate themselves to sign undertakings confirming that the candidate is not disqualified from standing for elections in terms of the Constitution or any applicable legislation.

The declaration of a vacancy by a Municipal Manager triggers the obligations of the Electoral Commission. The process of filling a vacancy is prescribed in the Local Government Municipal Structures Act (Structures Act). Once a vacancy is declared by a Municipal Manager, the Electoral Commission has an obligation to fill the vacancy within the time frames prescribed in the Structures Act.

In the present case, the party that had nominated the councillor has 21 days from the date of the vacancy, to amend its party list and to indicate to the Electoral Commission a candidate to be declared elected to the vacant seat. In the event the party fails to amend its list the Chief Electoral Officer will declare the candidate at the top of the existing list elected after the expiry of the 21-day period afforded to the party.

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