By Charles Molele
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Tuesday released an official timetable for political parties and voters leading up to the general elections taking place in May.
The timetable contains important dates and deadlines parties and those registered to vote.
Speaking at a media workshop held in Sandton on Tuesday, the IEC’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Sy Mamabolo said once President Cyril Ramaphosa made the proclamation of the national elections, an election timetable was agreed to with political parties.
“Once elections are proclaimed, we determine an election timetable agreed to with political parties. The election timetable spans the next 71 days and lays down the key dates and deadlines for various milestones until voting day on 8 May 2019,” said Mamabolo.
He said the cut-off date for all objections to the voters’ roll was on Friday this week.
South African intending to vote outside the country and those who intend to vote at embassies and consulates need to notify the IEC’s CEO by 13 March.
These voters must complete the notification form (VEC10) which is now available on the website of the Electoral Commission.
“People who are going to be on business or travelling to places such as Dubai, London or Gaborone and want to vote on election day must inform us before the 13th of March,” said Mamabolo.
He said thus far 299 political parties have been successfully registered.
However, he cautioned that only 34 to 35 will end up on the national ballot.
Contesting the elections
All parties wanting to contest the elections needed to pay the prescribed deposit of R605,000 by 13 March 13.
To contest elections for the National Assembly parties must pay R200,000 and for provincial seats R45,000.
Mamabolo appealed to all parties and candidates contesting the national and provincial elections to respect the role of the media before, during and after the elections.
He said political parties must take every reasonable step to ensure that journalists are not subjected to harassment, intimidation, hazard, threat or physical assault by any of their representatives or supporters.
“A free and fair election is not about the freedom to vote and the knowledge of how to cast a vote, but also a participation where voters engage in public debate and have adequate information about parties, policies, candidates and the election process itself in order to make informed choices,” said Mamabolo.
He also urged the media to offer South Africans a fair and balanced reporting.
“The media must also continue to perform a key watchdog role in elections and this includes holding all role players up for scrutiny and accountability to ensure they perform their roles within the ‘rules of the game’,” he said.
The IEC’s election timetable between March and 8 May 2019
13 March: Notification to the CEO of intention to vote outside of the Republic of South Africa.
14 March: Cut-off date for the commission to decide on objection to provisional voters’ roll and notify objector/s.
18 March: Certification and publication of voters’ roll by making it available.
19 March: Notice of non-compliance by parties in respect of lists of candidates.
25 March: Cut-off date for parties to comply in respect of candidates lists.
26 March: Cut-off date for parties to submit revised or substituted lists to candidates on multiple lists.
28 March: Cut-off date for parties to submit revised or substituted lists to candidates on multiple lists.
29 March: Notice – inspection of lists of candidates and accompanying documents.
29 March: Period in which lists of candidates and accompanying documents will be open for inspection.
1 April: Period in which lists of candidates and accompanying documents will be open for inspection
2 April: Cut-off date for objections to candidates.
8 April: Cut-off date for the commission’s decisions on objections and notification to objectors and parties.
4 to 18 April: Applications for special votes to the CEO.
11 April: Cut-off date for appeals to the Electoral Court against Commission decisions regarding objections to candidates.
16 April: Deciding if appeals by Electoral Court and notification of CEO and parties involved.
23 April: Cut-off date of compilation of lists of parties and final lists of candidates who will contest the election.
25 April: Issue of certificates to candidates.
27 April: Applications and casting of special votes at foreign missions.
6 to 7 May: Visitation for purposes of casting special votes.
6 to 7 May: Casting of special votes at office of presiding officer.
8 May: Election Day.