Parliament has urged the public to collect their IDs from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) so they can register and vote in the upcoming local government elections.
The call comes ahead of voter registration weekend, which will take place on 18-19 September.
The portfolio committee on home affairs and the select committee on security and justice, which was recently briefed by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), expressed its satisfaction that the commission was ready to deliver free and fair elections despite the constraints imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The committees noted that the 2021 local elections will occur at an extremely difficult time when the third wave of Covid-19 infections is still ravaging some provinces.
“As a result, the committee has called the IEC to strengthen non-pharmaceutical Interventions, such as social distancing and availability of personal protective equipment [PPE] to safeguard electoral staff against infections,” parliamentary spokesperson Malatswa Molepo said in a statement.
The committee welcomed the scheduled voter registration weekend, as well as the procurement of 40,000 new voter management devices, which will be used for the first time during the upcoming elections.
While the Department of Home Affairs continues to issue new IDs and temporary identification certificates to enable people to register and vote during the elections, the committees urged the public to collect their IDs.
“We urge that people must approach the DHA to collect about 418,000 IDs that remain in the DHA offices,” said Mosa Chabane, the chairperson of the portfolio committee on home affairs.
The committees also welcomed Home Affairs’ decision to open its offices during the voter registration weekend to enable people to collect their IDs.
“The committees will monitor the roll out of the voter registration weekend and have committed to invite the IEC for a further update after the voter registration weekend.”
Last Wednesday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma announced a new date for the elections, which has been set for between 1 November.
This is after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ordered the IEC to hold the municipal elections between 27 October and 1 November.
Dlamini-Zuma had initially proclaimed 27 October as the date for the elections, but due to the ConCourt’s ruling, the IEC had to amend its election timetable.
The applications for special votes will open 20 September and close on 4 October.