By: Mogotladi Makgato

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced that it welcomes the proclamation signed by president Cyril Ramaphosa and provincial premiers in a media statement on Tuesday, 26 February 2019.

The proclamation triggers the official election timetable, the opening of nomination for the elections and also closes the voters’ roll for this year’s election. The commission assures that no effort will be spared to avail to voters a credible electoral process.

“The proclamation places the preparation of the elections into a different trajectory. It gives a greater impetus to the currently unfolding preparations.

The commission will now have to escalate its preparations so that all electoral activities are accomplished in time for Election Day. In this regard, no effort will be spared to avail voters a credible electoral process.”

The commission is yet to discuss the official election timetable with the National party Liaison Committee on, Wednesday, 27 February 2019 before publishing in a Government Gazette.

IEC says that the proposed 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.

The closing date for candidate nomination will be regulated in terms of the election timetable. The commission urges nominees to use the Online Candidate nomination System that it introduced ahead of the 2016 Municipal Elections.

It says that more than half of the nearly 64 000 candidate nomination were submitted online.

The online system also caters for voters outside the country. “Voters who will be outside of the Republic who 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 (VEC10) which is now available on the website of the electoral commission.”

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko says the president has also declared 8 May a public holiday. “This is really to urge and encourage employers to allow workers to use this day for the purposes of exercising their democratic right to vote,” she said.

According to IEC there were almost 300 registered political parties in SA in January. It said there were 47 new political parties registered since January 2018 and a further 37 applications were pending at the time.