MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS 2021
Checking voter register
held the population will be vaccinated and the risk of infection will mitigate considerably. Declaration of political party funding Another factor that will affect the coming election is the Political Party Funding Act that introduces a strict regulatory framework for the private funding of political parties. This law comes into effect in April 2021 and will set limits on the source, size and use of donated funds by political parties – whether from persons, organisations or entities. To ensure transparency and accountability, political parties are required to disclose all donations received above the disclosure threshold
IEC official assisting a voter
of R100 000 to the Electoral Commission every three months, as well as ahead of general elections. They in turn will report these disclosures to Parliament. The intention of this law is to curtail corruption and provide maximum transparency to the electorate regarding the funding of political parties. The major concern for political parties will be exposing donors who wish to remain anonymous. Political parties fear that donors will now withdraw their funding as they may not want the voting public to know who the political party is they are supporting. Are we ready? Indications are that the elections should take place between 4 August and
1 November 2021. There are some who argue that as a constitutional democracy, the state is bound by the constitution to discharge its mandate to hold elections as laid out in the constitution. This means that the local elections must be held this year. The only way the elections can be postponed is if the constitution is amended. Some political parties fear that as indicated in the 2016 local government elections, where there was a significant drop in voters in the metropolitan areas, the loss of support will continue unless they have more time to campaign. A different view is that social media can be advantageous to political parties where they can campaign to a ready audience. Most of the electorate are digitally savvy, and campaigning on-line might be the new normal, and also cost effective. Whatever the arguments for or against holding the elections, the various organs of state entrusted with ensuring that the conditions and environment for fair and free elections are in place are proceeding at full pace. According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), they will be ready to conduct local elections despite the pandemic, and are fully prepared to discharge their constitutional mandate. The recent by-elections proved to be a successful test-run during the pandemic. The IEC successfully managed these by-elections and were satisfied that they were able to apply and implement the necessary COVID-19 protocols.