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Local government elections promise to be fascinating

By Dr Sithembile Mbete

It’s confirmed, South Africa’s local government elections will happen in 2021. This follows months of uncertainty after the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) applied to the Constitutional Court to postpone the elections to 2022 because of concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions would prevent free and fair elections. On Friday, 3 September the Constitutional Court dismissed the IEC’s application and ruled that the elections must take place in the period from 27 October to 1 November to comply with section 159 of the Constitution.

The Court made the right call. Section 159 of the Constitution states clearly that the terms of municipal councils may not exceed five years and elections must be held within 90 days of the date that a council’s term expires. If it had agreed to a postpone of the elections, the Court would effectively have been suspending this clause of the Constitution. Parliament is the only organ of state empowered to amend the Constitution. In my view, MPs failed in their duties by not initiating a process of constitutional amendment in 2020 to enable the election to be postponed if the COVID-19 pandemic had not subsided. Their failure placed the IEC and the Constitutional Court in the undesirable position of having to balance their constitutional obligations with public health risks.

In its order, the Court declared that the election proclamation of 3 August is ‘unconstitutional, invalid and is set aside’. This is to allow for reopening of voter registration because the IEC was forced to cancel the voter registration weekend scheduled for July when COVID-19 infections started rising in the third wave. The new dates for the voter registration weekend are 18 – 19 September, which will offer all eligible citizens to register at any of the 23,151 voting stations across the country. Registered voters will be able to update their address details so they can vote where they currently reside. This is important because, in local government elections, voters are only permitted to vote in the voting stations where they are registered. The voters roll will close when the new election date is proclaimed on 20 September.

Controversially, the IEC has also decided to re-open candidate registrations. According to the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act of 2000, the voter registration deadline precedes the deadline for candidates so it follows that there would be a new deadline for candidate registrations. This deadline will be set for after the voter registration weekend. By reopening candidate registrations, the IEC has thrown a lifeline to the ANC which had failed to register candidates in 93 wards and hadn’t registered any PR candidates in the Western Cape and parts of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and Limpopo. Until the IEC’s decision there was a chance that this would be the first election since 1994 where the ANC wouldn’t be competing nationally. The DA is mounting a court challenge against the IEC for ‘unduly benefitting’ the ANC.

After a rocky start of legal uncertainty, this election period promises to be the most fascinating one since 1994. Candidates and parties will have to find creative ways to execute campaigns within the constraints of time, lockdown regulations and resources. Independent candidates and smaller parties may stand a better chance against a weakened and fractured ANC. If you haven’t done so, register to vote. If you’re registered make sure your registration details are accurate so you can cast your vote where you live. Don’t miss your chance!

Also Read: DA opposes the re-opening of candidate registration by the IEC

Written by: Dohne


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Privacy Policy


POPIA ActTo promote the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies; to introduce certain conditions so as to establish minimum requirements for the processing of personal information; to provide for the establishment of an Information Regulator to exercise certain powers and to perform certain duties and functions in terms of this Act and the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000; to provide for the issuing of codes of conduct; to provide for the rights of persons regarding unsolicited electronic communications and automated decision making; to regulate the flow of personal information across the borders of the Republic; and to provide for matters connected therewith.


  • section 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, provides that everyone has the right to privacy;
  • the right to privacy includes a right to protection against the unlawful collection, retention, dissemination and use of personal information;
  • the State must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights;


  • consonant with the constitutional values of democracy and openness, the need for economic and social progress, within the framework of the information society, requires the removal of unnecessary impediments to the free flow of information, including personal information;


  • regulate, in harmony with international standards, the processing of personal information by public and private bodies in a manner that gives effect to the right to privacy subject to justifiable limitations that are aimed at protecting other rights and important interests,
  1. Definitions and Interpretation

1.1.“Personal Information” means information relating to an identifiable, living, natural person and where it is applicable, identifiable, existing juristic person, including all information as defined in the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013. 

1.2  Parliament assented to POPIA on 19 November 2013. The commencement date of section 1Part A of Chapter 5section 112 and section 113 was 11 April 2014. The commencement date of the other sections was 1 July 2020 (with the exception of section 110 and 114(4). The President of South Africa has proclaimed the POPI commencement date to be 1 July 2020.

1.3. “Processing” means the creation, generation, communication, storage, destruction of personal information as more fully defined in the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013.  

1.4. “You” or the “user” means any person who accesses and browses this website for any purpose. 

1.4. “Website” means the website of the KAYA 959 at URL or such other URL as KAYA 959 may choose from time to time.   

  1. Status and Amendments

2.1. KAYA 959 respects your privacy. This privacy policy statement sets out KAYA 959’s information gathering and dissemination practices in respect of the Website. 

2.2. This Privacy Policy governs the processing of personal information provided to KAYA 959 through your use of the Website. 

2.3. Please note that, due to legal and other developments, KAYA 959 may amend these terms and conditions from time to time.  

  1. Processing of Personal Information

3.1. By providing your personal information to KAYA 959 you acknowledge that it has been collected directly from you and consent to its processing by KAYA 959. 

3.2. Where you submit Personal Information (such as name, address, telephone number and email address) via the website (e.g. through completing any online form) the following principles are observed in the processing of that information: 

3.2.1. KAYA 959 will only collect personal information for a purpose consistent with the purpose for which it is required. The specific purpose for which information is 
collected will be apparent from the context in which it is requested. 

3.2.2. KAYA 959 will only process personal information in a manner that is adequate, relevant and not excessive in the context of the purpose for which it is processed. 

3.2.3. Personal information will only be processed for a purpose compatible with that for which it was collected, unless you have agreed to an alternative purpose in writing or KAYA 959 is permitted in terms of national legislation of general application dealing primarily with the protection of personal information. 

3.2.4. KAYA 959 will keep records of all personal Information collected and the specific purpose for which it was collected for a period of 1 (one) year from the date on which it was last used. 

3.2.5. KAYA 959 will not disclose any personal information relating to you to any third party unless your prior written agreement is obtained or KAYA 959 is required to do so by law. 

3.2.6. If personal information is released with your consent KAYA 959 will retain a record of the information released, the third party to which it was released, the reason for the release and the date of release, for a period of 1 (one) year from the date on which it was last used. 

3.2.7. KAYA 959 will destroy or delete any personal information that is no longer needed by KAYA 959 for the purpose it was initially collected, or subsequently processed. 

3.3. Note that, as permitted by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002, KAYA 959 may use personal information collected to compile profiles for statistical purposes. No information contained in the profiles or statistics will be able to be linked to any specific user.    

  1. Collection of anonymous data

4.1. KAYA 959 may use standard technology to collect information about the use of this website. This technology is not able to identify individual users but simply allows KAYA 959 to collect statistics. 

4.2. KAYA 959 may utilise temporary or session cookies to keep track of users’ browsing habits. A cookie is a small file that is placed on your hard drive in order to keep a record of your interaction with this website and facilitate user convenience. 

4.2.1. Cookies by themselves will not be used to identify users personally but may be used to compile identified statistics relating to use of services offered or to provide KAYA 959 with feedback on the performance of this website. 

4.2.2. The following classes of information may be collected in respect of users who have enabled cookies: The browser software used; IP address; Date and time of activities while visiting the website; URLs of internal pages visited; and referrers. 

4.3. If you do not wish cookies to be employed to customize your interaction with this website it is possible to alter the manner in which your browser handles cookies. Please note that, if this is done, certain services on this website may not be available. 

  1. Security

5.1. KAYA 959 takes reasonable measures to ensure the security and integrity of information submitted to or collected by this website, but cannot under any circumstances be held liable for any loss or other damage sustained by you as a result of unlawful access to or dissemination of any personal information by a third party. 

  1. Links to other websites

6.1. KAYA 959 has no control over and accepts no responsibility for the privacy practices of any third party websites to which hyperlinks may have been provided and KAYA 959 strongly recommends that you review the privacy policy of any website you visit before using it further. 

  1. Queries

7.1. If you have any queries about this privacy policy please contact us by emailing [email protected]