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Towards free and fair elections

Written by Mbulelo Baloyi

2011 Municipal Elections

In preparation for the 2011 Municipal Elections due to take place on 18 May, the IEC hosted a pre-election summit in March.

The 2011 Municipal Elections will be a challenge for the IEC as special voting has been allowed for the first time. This will be for people who are unable to vote in their voting districts on the day of the election.

Special votes

Special votes will be cast on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 May before election day on Wednesday 18 May.

Voters who want to cast special votes will have to apply at their nearest electoral office so that arrangements can be made ahead of time.

Special votes for Monday 16 May are for people who will not be at their voting districts on voting day due to the nature of their work. This includes police doing election duty and journalists. Once their applications for special votes had been approved, these people would be able to vote on Monday, 16 May.

On Tuesday, 17 May, the IEC will be handling special votes for people who are admitted to hospitals or are sick at home and cannot go to the voting stations on Wednesday, 18 May.

IEC officials will visit hospitals, homes for the aged and private homes to help these voters to cast their votes ahead of voting day 18 May.

During the municipal elections, different ballot papers are used depending on the type of municipality in which you live.

To vote in the municipal elections, you have to register as a voter in the voting district where you live and vote where you are registered.

There are three types of municipal councils:

  • Metropolitan councils such as Tshwane, eThekwini and Ekurhuleni.
  • District councils such as Alfred Nzo and uMgungundlovu district municipalities.
  • Local municipalities like Mogale City and Polokwane local municipalities.

In some provinces there is a form of municipality called the District Management Area. These are normally found in areas such as game reserves or parks or nature conservation areas where there are too few people to form wards.

Ballot papers

On voting day, voters registered at a metropolitan council are issued with two ballot papers.

The first ballot paper is for proportional representation where the voter is expected to vote for the party of his or her choice. The second ballot paper is for the ward councillor or candidate.

However, voters registered within a Local Municipality are issued with three ballot papers.

The first ballot paper is for proportional representation (PR) where the voter is expected to vote for a party of his or her choice. The second ballot paper is for the ward candidate, while the third ballot paper is for proportional representation whereby the voter chooses his or her party of choice for the district municipality.

Registered voters
The two voter registration weekends of 5 to 6 February and 5 to 6 March increased the registered voters' roll to 23 600 000 voters. This falls just 400 000 short of the original IEC target of having 24 million voters registered. More women and young people than for the previous elections registered during the registration weekend in March. KwaZulu-Natal topped the list with the most registered voters at more than 200 000.
For more information, call the IEC National Office: 012 622 5700 To check your voting registration status, call the toll-free number: 0800 11 8000