Home Politics South African elections to start…

South African elections to start…

by Kingsley Nzeadibe

In an election that might transform the local governance political scene, millions of South Africans voted today for over 8,000 municipal offices in towns and cities around the country.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which controls voting process and employees at over 23,000 polling sites, pronounced the vote to be off to a “excellent start,” despite growing political unrest, including many homicides and intimidation acts.

The local elections, which are the fifth since the end of racial government in 1994, are being viewed as a litmus test for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party’s ability to maintain support in the face of substandard services, corruption, and major power shortages.
In South Africa’s eight metros, 44 district councils, and 205 local municipalities, 26 million eligible citizens elect representatives.

The election will have 60,000 candidates from 235 registered parties or candidate collectives.
‘Community action’ prevented 20 polling locations in KwaZulu-Natal from opening, as many South Africans had become so disgusted with the electoral process that they sought to prevent any voting at all.

New voter administration systems are being developed.

Police had regained order and voting centers have opened in some sections of the Zulu-dominated province, according to the IEC.

19 voting stations in the Eastern Cape had opened late, while severe rains in the Western Cape had also delayed the opening of certain stations, particularly in Cape Town and the surrounding area.

Consequently, 99 percent of the 23,108 polling places were open on schedule.
The IEC stated it was “extremely delighted” with its new voter management solutions, claiming that over 3.5 million voters had already cast ballots during a luncheon briefing.

According to the IEC, one voting officer was arrested for inserting marked votes into a voting box, while another was charged for opening a voting box after it had been shut.

Other arrests have occurred, including one of a local 24-hour TV news channel reporter covering the election at a voting station in Soweto, for which the IEC expressed regret, stating that it had interfered to get the journalist freed and was now examining the reasons of his detention.
Other arrests have occurred, including one of a local 24-hour TV news channel reporter covering the election at a voting station in Soweto, for which the IEC expressed regret, stating that it had interfered to get the journalist freed and was now examining the reasons of his detention.
The IEC stated it has only received “isolated cases” in addition to these.
There are literally thousands of rather well-paying jobs on the line, with about 4,400 wards and an equal number of proportionate vote seats to be assigned.
This reality, in an economy with a total unemployment rate of over 44%, has resulted in a lot of pre-election contestation, including inside the ANC, which has resulted in multiple political assassinations and increased tensions.

Corruption.

Former ANC leader Jacob Zuma and others in his wing of the ruling party, including the banned and corruption-accused secretary-general, attempted to urge a mass boycott of the elections at one time.

But that plan fell through, and Zuma was out at his local voting station near his KwaZulu-Natal rural homestead of Nkandla, still under house arrest after obtaining medical parole on a 15-month contempt charge that had landed him in jail temporarily.

The official main Opposition Alliance (DA), which governs the Western Cape region and most of its cities and towns, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) want to enlarge their representation at the expense of the African National Congress (ANC).

However, political pollsters tell out that recent polls of probable voters revealed widespread unhappiness with all major political parties.
Some likely voters stated that nothing would compel them to vote, implying that a considerably lower poll is expected.
A trend of supporting independent candidates, who were for the first time able to function as collectives in specified towns and so get the proportionate vote received by individuals, worked against the established parties.

Due to the many unique elements affecting this Covid-influenced test of the voters’ will, practically all election analysts consider this election to be the most hard to predict since the first all-race elections in 1994.

The ANC received 53.9 percent of the vote in the 2016 municipal elections, the DA 26.9%, the EFF 8.2 percent, and the Zulu traditionalists in the Inkatha Freedom Party 4.25 percent.

Based on survey responses from probable voters, the ANC was predicted to receive roughly 49% of the vote in this poll. If this happens, the ruling party becomes a minority party by total vote for the first time in South Africa’s democratic existence.

In the pre-Covid period, the ANC was expected to do reasonably well in its heartland areas but continue losing power in towns and cities across the country, where years of failures to repair potholes and provide electricity, fresh water, hygiene, and refuse removal services had incited up to 12’service shipping protests’ per day.

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