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Legally Election day has to be declared a public holiday in SA

21 September 2021 6:55 AM
Tags:
IEC
Elections
Public holiday
voting day

Thembelani Mazibuko, Researcher at the Electoral Institute of SA explains the process to be followed.
  • Election day by law must be gazetted as a public holiday
  • This allows for the principle of free and fair elections
  • All working people must be given every opportunity to vote
  • Those who have to work must apply for special voting on the two days preceding the election day
  • There are concerns that election day is on a Monday rather than the traditional Wednesday and may lead to people going away for the long weekend. Local elections require voters to cast their ballot in the voting station in which they are registered.

Emfundisweni Pre-Primary School in Nomzamo, in the Western Cape, voting station in Nomzamo Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has gazetted November 1 as the date for the local government elections.

The IEC has written to Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to ask him to facilitate a request to the President that election day, November 1, be declared a public holiday.

Researcher at the Electoral Institute of SA Thembelani Mazibuko runs through the legal process that would be required.

By law, election day has to be declared a public holiday. This is to allow people who are working to have as much of an opportunity to vote.

Thembelani Mazibuko, Researcher - Electoral Institute of SA

This in principle allows for a free and fair election. Therefore the President will declare Voting Day a public holiday.

Thembelani Mazibuko, Researcher - Electoral Institute of SA

But in order for that to happen, the IEC has to issue a request to the Minister of Home Affairs to facilitate this process.

Thembelani Mazibuko, Researcher - Electoral Institute of SA

This process includes the official gazetting of the public holiday.

Once it has been officially gazetted it will then be announced by the President as a public holiday to allow all people to vote.

Thembelani Mazibuko, Researcher - Electoral Institute of SA

Two days preceding the day is allocated for special votes for those who have to work on the day, he adds.

If you cannot vote on that day you must apply to vote on those two days.

Thembelani Mazibuko, Researcher - Electoral Institute of SA

There have been concerns expressed about voting taking place on a Monday rather than the traditional Wednesday.

The court ruling that the election has to be held by 1 November...which, unfortunately, falls on a Monday, and the IEC expressed that they needed as much time as possible. They had thought the elections would be next year.

Thembelani Mazibuko, Researcher - Electoral Institute of SA

It is concerning as some people may view this as a long weekend and perhaps be away from home.

Thembelani Mazibuko, Researcher - Electoral Institute of SA

Remember, by law, in local elections, one has to vote at the voting station at which one is registered, unlike national elections where one can vote anywhere.




21 September 2021 6:55 AM
Tags:
IEC
Elections
Public holiday
voting day

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