South Africa’s local government elections will be held on 1 November 2021, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced during a media briefing on Wednesday (8 September).
Her announcement follows a Constitutional Court order last week directing that the elections be held between 27 October and 1 November 2021.
Local government elections date
“We have come to the determination that this year’s local government elections will be held on November 1, 2021,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
“This is in accordance with the Constitution, read with the Municipal Structures Act, as the act prescribes that elections must be held within 90 days from the end of the five-year term of the government.”
According to the Minister, the government will officially proclaim the election date on 20 September 2021. The elections will also mark the 21st anniversary since the establishment of a democratic local government system in South Africa.
“We could have chosen the originally proclaimed day of the 27th of October 2021, but we have chosen the most outer date as the IEC indicated that it will need as much time as possible to prepare for the elections,” she said.
IEC’s unsuccessful application
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had earlier applied for a postponement of the polls at the Constitutional Court, based on a report by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Moseneke recommended a postponement of the elections because they were unlikely to be free and fair. He cited the COVID-19 restrictions, which currently prohibit mass gatherings and would therefore limit political party campaigns, as the main reason.
The Constitutional Court however dismissed IEC’s application and directed it to open another round of voter registration. The IEC has since announced that the registration will take place on the weekend of 18 and 19 September 2021. Registration is also ongoing online.
It also announced the reopening of candidate registration, something that has sparked opposition from parties such as the Democratic Alliance, which has moved to court to block it.
The ANC, which had earlier faced the prospect of not fielding candidates in dozens of wards after missing the initial registration deadline, has however welcomed the move.
A poll by IPSOS released this week found that the ANC is likely to lose ground in this election, with 49.3% of surveyed voters indicating that they would vote for it. 17.9% said they would vote for DA while 14.5% would vote for the EFF.