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Briefing to Home Affairs Portfolio Committee. Tuesday, 18 June 2002. Presentation. By-Elections Principles and Processes By-Elections Report Registration Questions and Answers Closing Remarks. By-Elections. Principles and Processes. Introduction. By-election:

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Presentation Transcript
  • By-Elections
    • Principles and Processes
    • By-Elections Report
  • Registration
  • Questions and Answers
  • Closing Remarks


by elections


Principles and Processes


  • By-election:
    • An election between regular general municipal elections (MSA Definition)
  • Governed by the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act (No. 117 of 1998)
  • The Electoral Commission is responsible for management of by-elections in terms of the Municipal Electoral Act (No. 27 of 2000).


grounds for by elections msa s25
Grounds for By-Elections (MSA s25)
  • If the Electoral Commission does not declare the result of an election of a municipal council, a ward or a district management area, within the period specified in terms of the Electoral Act, (within 7 days after the voting day).
  • A court sets aside the election of a council, a ward, or a district management area.
  • A council is dissolved (can only occur 2 years after a general election).
  • If a vacancy in a ward occurs


ward vacancies msa s27
Ward Vacancies (MSA s27)
  • A ward vacancy occurs if:
    • a councillor dies
    • a councillor resigns from a party
    • a councillor resigns from council
    • a councillor is expelled from a party
    • a councillor is expelled from council
    • a councillor joins a different party
      • “crossing the floor” applies to an independent joining a party as well


no by elections
No By-Elections
  • No by-election is needed if a PR list councillor vacates a seat (MSA Schedule 1, item 20)
  • If only one candidate’s nomination is successful, then an uncontested by-election (MSA Schedule 1, item 14)
  • (For now) By-elections only apply to ward councillors


calling a by election msa s25 3 4
Calling a By-Election [MSA s25 (3 & 4)]
  • Only a municipal manager can call and set a date for by-election, NOT the MEO
  • Setting the date must occur AFTER consulting the Commission
  • Municipal Manager must call and set the date within 14 days of the occurrence
  • If outside the 14 days, MEC for local government calls and sets the date


calling and setting the date msa s25 3 4
Calling and Setting the Date [MSA s25 (3 & 4)]
  • The Municipal Manager places a notice in a local newspaper
  • The MEC places a notice in the Provincial Gazette
  • By-election must take place within 90 days of the date of vacancy


consultation with the electoral commission
Consultation with the Electoral Commission
  • Upon hearing of a vacancy, the Municipal Manager must send a letter to the Electoral Commission (Provincial Electoral Office)
  • Letter to contain
    • Name of Councillor
    • Councillor’s ID number
    • Municipality and Ward Number


supporting documents

copy of the death certificate

Resign from council

copy of the resignation letter

copy of council minutes showing acceptance of the resignation letter by the council

Resign from party

letter of resignation from the councillor

“crossing the floor”: copy of minutes from council

Expelled from council

Copy of council minutes showing expulsion from the council

Expelled from party

Copy of a letter showing the expulsion from the party by the branch, provincial or national party structures (whichever has relevant jurisdiction)

Letter to show that the appeals or disciplinary process of the party has run its course


Supporting Documents


sending the letter
Sending the Letter
  • The Electoral Commission will only act on a vacancy when formal letter/notice is sent by the relevant municipal manager to the Provincial Electoral Office
  • Once the vacancy has been confirmed, the Municipal Electoral Officer will start with preparations for a by-election


by election timetable meas11
By-Election Timetable MEAs11
  • Timetable is a legal requirement MEA s11
  • Timetable is driven by the by-election notice
  • Commission compiles & publishes the timetable MEA s11(1)
  • Tends to be the same for all by-elections on a set date


nomination of ward candidates
Nomination of Ward Candidates
  • Parties must be registered before submitting candidates MEA s13 (1)
  • No limit on number of independents per ward
  • R500 deposit per contesting independent ward candidate MER s11
    • only bank guaranteed cheques acceptable MEA s17 (2)(d)
  • All relevant documents must be in by 17:00 on Nomination Day MEA s17 (2)


nomination documents mea s17 mer 8 to 11
Independent candidate

Nomination form – signed by voter on the correct municipal voters’ roll (Form MEC 23)

Acceptance of nomination form (Form MEC 26)

50 signatures of voters on the correct municipal voters’ roll (Form MEC 25)

“Head & shoulders” photo of nominee

Bank guaranteed cheque

Party candidate

Nomination form (Form MEC 24)

Acceptance of nomination form – signed by nominee (Form MEC 26)

Certified copy of candidate’s ID page

Bank guaranteed cheque

All documentation must be

in by 17:00 on Nomination Day.

Failure to comply means

no participation!

Nomination DocumentsMEA s17, MER 8 to 11


voter education
Voter Education
  • Develop education & awareness plan
  • Recruit & brief Municipal Field Coordinator and Field Workers
  • Use all media available, including community radio
  • Loud-hailers have been useful in rural areas
  • Distribute registration pamphlets during targeted registration


mec 7 scenarios
MEC 7 Scenarios
  • Refers to cases where the voter is not on the voters’ roll, but has proof of registration
  • MEC 7 form is to be completed properly
  • Proof is to be inspected
    • only a valid zip-zip sticker or manual receipt
  • Pay attention to:
    • date of registration (before date of voters’ roll closure)
    • place of last registration (VD number)
  • Keep MEC 7 forms separate for later capture on VRS


by election day
By-Election Day
  • Reports required:
    • voting station open
    • regular voter turnout figures
    • problems encountered e.g. large number of MEC 7s, security concerns
  • Inform PEO office of updates
  • Reports will be routed to HO Operations Centre


  • Results must be captured on the evening of the by-election
  • Where number of votes cast > registered voters, no capturing will be allowed without special arrangements via PEO/Head Office
  • At HO, IT Team available for support through the night
  • Announcement can precede capturing


objections against results
Objections Against Results
  • Must follow s65 of Electoral Act
  • Must be served on the Commission in Pretoria by 17:00 on 2nd day after election MEA s65 (1)
  • MEO’s or PEO’s only provide guidance, they do not accept the objection
  • Act clearly specifies information required




Correct ID number

EA number:

Can be ignored


  • VD where
  • registered:
  • must be at same VD as by-election
  • split VDs in redemarcation may have different VD number as targeted registrationdid not occur


  • Date of
  • Registration:
  • Must pre-date closure of voters’ roll on timetable

Check the Zip-Zip Sticker



Plan Strategy (targeted or weekend registration



All stations open

MEO office only


  • Fieldworkers
  • Voter education
  • Recruit & train
  • staff
  • Check with PEO/HO
  • Check date of uploads
  • Confirm machine number





  • Register with Zip Zips - not manually
  • Ensure full and proper completion of REC1s

Registration closes @ 17h00 on date of publication of notice





by elections1


By-elections Reports


number of by elections held
Number of By-Elections Held
  • Eastern Cape 12
  • Free State 2
  • Gauteng 9
  • KwaZulu-Natal 27
  • Mpumalanga 9
  • Northern Cape 3
  • Northern Province 2
  • NorthWest 7
  • Western Cape 8


by elections voter registration
By-Elections Voter Registration
  • Voter registration campaigns were conducted for every by-election
  • Voter registration has increased steadily with each by-election
  • A growth rate of 1.3% recorded in areas where by-elections were held
  • Although there has been an increase in the voter registration process, a considerable number of voters has been removed
  • Death has accounted for the largest number of people removed from the roll (502 944 since 1999 when the roll was first certified)


  • KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have death as the major cause of vacancies and are both at 55%
  • Western Cape has resignations as the major cause of vacancies (71.4%)
  • Mpumalanga has experienced most expulsions at 55.6%


  • The major cause of men vacating ward seats has been (in order of these causes):
    • death
    • resignation
    • expulsion
  • The major causes of women vacating ward seats has been (in order of these causes):
    • resignation
    • death
    • expulsion


  • The ANC participated in more by-elections and won the largest number of them (50/79)
  • Parties that did not win any ward are not shown
  • Residents Associations and local parties have been grouped together (for the purposes of this presentation!)
  • The only Residents Association that won a by-election is Ubambo Lwesizwe Independent Residents Association in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Only one ward (52605007) in Nongoma (KZN) was uncontested and won by the IFP


women representation
Women Representation
  • 28% of council seats were occupied by women following the 5 December 2000 Municipal Elections
  • Seats were broken down into 633 ward councillors and 1651 Proportional Representation list councillors
  • Out of 179 candidates nominated for the by-elections, only 25 were women and 8 of them won


  • A total of 12 women councillors vacated local government through by-elections
  • A total of 8 women councillors have entered local local government in the same period
  • A total of 4 seats were lost by women councillors


voter turnout
Voter Turnout
  • The average turnout for by-elections in 2001was 28.3%
  • Voter turnout has varies from place to place, with the lowest being 8.82% (ward 79400001 - City of Johannesburg) and the highest being 63.25% [ward 30701003) - Nyandeni (Libode)]
  • A combination of weekdays and weekends was used for by-elections


spoilt votes
Spoilt Votes
  • Spoilt ballots represent:
    • ballots not counted due to difficulties in ascertaining voters’ choices
  • Spoilt ballots ranged from 0.32% (ward 79400093 - City of Johannesburg) to 3.38% [ward 52405006 - Umvoti (Greytown)]
  • The average of spoilt ballot papers in 2001 was 1,53%.


  • The EC delimited 14 650 voting districts and registered 18 172 751 eligible voters in 1999.
  • The voters’ roll served as a basis for the determination of wards for the 5 December 2000 municipal elections.
  • 3 754 wards were determined and are still in force.
  • The EC maintains the roll as was first established, updating it regularly.
  • At certification for the 2000 municipal elections, there were 18 476 519 names on the voters’ roll.


maintaining the voters roll
Maintaining the Voters’ Roll
  • The voters’ roll as compiled for the 1999 elections and maintained throughout the period is largely accurate.
  • The Commission has detected some inaccuracies, namely:
    • voters registered across voting district boundaries;
    • mis-located voting stations; and
    • swapped voting district barcodes.


voters registered across voting district boundaries
Voters’ Registered Across Voting District Boundaries
  • The Commission has established that a number of voters are registered outside of the voting district in which they are ordinarily resident.
  • In the main, these problems are attributable to:
    • the first general registration weekend in 1998;
    • a number of voting stations opening late on the first day of registration;
    • inadequate voter information about where to register (a number of voters went to the nearest voting station to register - even if it was incorrect!)


mis located voting stations
Mis-located Voting Stations
  • The Commission relied on the municipalities’ local knowledge w.r.t. the location of venues;
  • A Geographic Positioning System (GPS) exercise was undertaken and completed in February 2002.
  • Through the GPS, the Commission has established that only 73% of the voting stations fall within the host voting districts.
  • Mis-located voting stations have the effect of rendering registered voters’ details inaccurate.


swapped voting district barcodes
Swapped Voting District Barcodes
  • The Commission has established that at the time of registration in late 1998, some of its local agents swapped voting district maps.
  • This phenomenon has been detected in a small number of voting districts


addressing deficiencies on the voters roll
Addressing Deficiencies on the Voters’ Roll
  • The Commission has adopted a comprehensive strategy aimed at addressing the deficiencies in the voters’ roll through the following projects;
    • delimitation revision;
    • address register;
    • voters’ roll clean-up;
    • spatial data enhancement;
    • targeted registration;
    • hosting of two general registration weekends prior to 2004 elections; and
    • continuous registration at municipal electoral offices.


  • Since 1 January 2001:
    • 68 576 new voters were registered, and
    • 371 255 reported as deceased and subsequently removed from the voters’ roll (as per the National Population Register)


concluding remarks
Concluding Remarks
  • The subject of the maintenance of the voters’ roll is receiving serious attention of the Commission and its staff.
  • At the heart of the deliberations, are alternatives on how best to provide registration facilities in a way that goes beyond simply opening voting stations and municipal electoral offices for registration.
  • Particular attention is being paid on how best to assist rural voters and the youth.


end of presentation

End of Presentation