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Public holiday for SA voters

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South African employers to observe 8 May, the day of National and Provincial elections, as a public holiday and encourage staff to use the day to exercise their right to vote.

In a statement, the Presidency said all Premiers have also declared 8 May 2019 as the date of the election of provincial legislatures.

These proclamations have been published in the Government Gazette.

Welcoming the proclamation, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said the development triggers the official election timetable.

The proposed election timetable spans over 71 days and lays down the key dates and deadlines for various milestones until voting day on 8 May 2019.

“The proclamation places the preparation of the elections into a different trajectory. It gives a greater impetus to the currently unfolding election preparations,” IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said in a statement.

The Commission will now start with the preparations so that all electoral activities are accomplished in time for Election Day.

The first legal consequence of the proclamation is that the voters’ roll for this year’s elections will be closed. This means no new applicants may be admitted to the voters’ roll for purposes of the 2019 National and Provincial Elections. This includes both additional registrations and re-registrations.

Voters who will be outside the South African borders and intend to vote at embassies and consulates need to notify the chief electoral officer of this fact and the mission at which they intend voting.

“In this regard, voters have 15 days to complete the notification which is now available on the website of the Electoral Commission,” Bapela said.

The proclamation also triggers the opening of candidate nomination for the elections. The closing date for candidate nomination will be regulated in terms of the election timetable.

In 2016, the IEC launched the online candidate nomination system ahead of the 2016 Municipal Elections in an effort to speed up and simplify the process of submitting candidate nomination lists for elections by allowing parties to capture their own information and then submit it electronically via the internet by the deadline.

The number of votes required to secure a seat in both the national and provincial legislatures depends on the voter turnout of the elections. In 2014 parties required 45 892 votes to be guaranteed a seat in the National Assembly and between 13 627 votes (Northern Cape) and 59 219 votes (Gauteng) for a provincial seat.

For more information on submitting candidate lists for the 2019 National and Provincial Elections, please refer to http://www.elections.org.za/content/Parties/How-to-contest-national-and-provincial-elections/ - SAnews.gov.za