S.Africans urged to register for municipal polls

Johannesburg, Sep 18 (IANS): Political parties, lawmakers and the electoral body in South Africa have urged citizens to register for the upcoming municipal elections ahead of next the September 20 deadline, with more than 23,151 registration stations set to open over the weekend.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa on September 6 announced that registration for voters will close on September 20, following a registration weekend from Saturday to Sunday, which will offer all eligible South African citizens an opportunity to register or update their registration details at all the voting stations, reports Xinhua news agency.

The municipal elections that are held every five years will elect leadership at metropolitan, district and local levels in over 200 municipalities across the country, who play a crucial role in providing services that directly affect South African citizens on a daily basis.

Fikile Xasa, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs of the Parliament, on Friday called for maximum participation from all citizens in the elections, as local governments are the engine of service delivery in the South African system of state.

Xasa, in a statement released here, urged all eligible South Africans, particularly the youth, to register to vote while adhering to Covid-19 protocols at registration stations.

The call came as the two largest parties in the country were mobilising their supporters to register for the elections.

African National Congress (ANC), which is the ruling party since South Africa's first democratic election in 1994, on Thursday announced that President Cyril Ramaphosa and other officials will encourage communities on the ground to take advantage of the registration weekend and vote for the party.

It also announced that Ramaphosa and other ANC leaders will conduct community engagement after launching the election manifesto on September 27 in Tshwane, the city that contains the administrative capital of Pretoria.

ANC reportedly failed to register all candidates in 93 municipalities, 35 of which were significantly affected, before the original deadline due to technical problems.

The party, however, assured its members and supporters that it will register all candidates by September 21 as the electoral body reopened candidate nominations.

Democratic Alliance (DA), the second largest party, on Friday announced its registration program on the weekend, during which its top leader John Steenhuisen and other party members will also visit communities to mobilise residents.

Among major cities in the country, DA, which is the biggest party in Tshwane and Johannesburg, is seeking for an outright majority in Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay, Steenhuisen told Xinhua.



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