General Election Queries
1. What is the difference between national, provincial elections and municipal elections?
In national elections you vote for members of Parliament and in provincial elections (held on the same day as national elections) you vote for members of the provincial legislature. In municipal elections you are voting for city or town councillors who will run your town council for the next five years.
In national and provincial elections, you vote for a political party (Proportional Representative or PR electoral system) to get seats in the national and provincial legislatures. In municipal elections, you vote for a political party and a ward councillor (a mixed system of PR and ward constituency to get seats at the municipal level.
2. When will the elections be held?
The final date for the 2016 Municipal Elections has not yet been proclaimed but in terms of the Constitution the elections must be held within 90 days of the previous election date which was 18 May (2011). So the elections must take place between 18 May and 16 August 2016. The actual date will be announced by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
3. When does the timetable for the 2016 Municipal Elections get published?
The Election Timetable is published soon after the proclamation of the election in the government gazette and is available on the IEC website at elections.org.za. To receive notifications of key dates and election events, please follow us on Facebook (IECSouthAfrica) or Twitter (@IECSouthafrica)
4. How are PR seats calculated?
In metropolitan and local councils, half of the council seats are allocated to directly elected ward councillors (ward ballot paper) and the other half are allocated to political parties on the basis of the results of the PR ballot paper. The ward councillors are elected first and then the remaining seats are allocated to political parties based on proportional representation. The PR allocation takes into account how many ward seats a party has already won to make sure that the final number of seats a party has does not exceed the percentage of the vote which they won. So for example if a party has won 50% of the wards and 50% of the PR votes then that party will not receive any proportional seats. For a graphic representation of this process, please go to https://www.elections.org.za/content/Elections/Seat-calculation-for-Metro-and-Local-Councils/
5. I get called or texted by political parties – did the IEC give them my contact details?
The Electoral Commission is very protective of voter information and privacy and does not provide contact details for any voters to any political party or outside agency. However, we are required by law to publish the voters’ roll and to make these available to parties which are contesting those elections. Only the names and ID numbers of registered voters are provided to parties and no contact details are included in the voters’ roll. We are aware that some parties use commercially available data bases to obtain contact details for eligible voters. We suggest you raise any concerns you may have regarding unsolicited approaches to the party concerned.
6. I’m not going to vote/why must I vote?
Municipal Elections are held every five years to elect councillors who will be responsible for governing your municipality for the next five years. They will serve on the town, city, metropolitan and/or district councils that ensure services for the people in their areas including providing water, electricity, sewerage and sanitation services, waste removal and other services that directly impact your daily life.
The 2016 Municipal Elections are your chance to have a direct say in who runs your community and ward, so make your voice heard and make your right to vote count.
7. Is Election Day going to be a public holiday?
The Electoral Commission does not determine public holidays. However, all previous general elections have been declared public holidays to allow all voters the opportunity to vote.
8. When will we receive the 2016 Municipal Elections results?
By law the election results must be announced within seven days of the day on which the election took place. In municipal elections each ward and municipality is its own election so these results are announced as and when the counting and results processes have been finalised. The first results will probably be known within a few hours of the close of voting stations and the results for municipalities within a day or two of the election. Watch the media for information or you can follow the results on your smartphone by downloading the Results App from elections.org.za.
9. Who is my ward councillor?
Details of your ward councillor can be found on our website: https://www.elections.org.za/content/For-voters/who-is-my-councillor-/, or if you are a registered voter you can SMS your ID number to 32245 (charged at R1) and you will receive a text message of who your current ward councillor is.
10. Why have the number of voters, based on the numbers on your voters’ roll, fallen following the 2014 National and Provincial Elections?
Thank you for your enquiry regarding the decline in the number of registered voters between the National and Provincial Elections in May 2014 and the current registration figures. The decline is largely due to the removal of deceased persons from the voters’ roll. The Electoral Commission receives an updated version of the national population register each month which contains changes to the population – including births and deaths. Deceased persons are then removed from the voters’ roll. According to Statistics South Africa an average of about 450 000 die each year – or about 38 000 per month. The voters’ roll is also updated with new voter registrations received but given that we have not had any special voter registration drives since the last election, the number of deceased persons has significantly exceeded the number of new voter registrations causing the voters’ roll to decline.