The Electoral Commission of South Africa has formally launched the 2024 National and Provincial Elections (NPE 2024) programme as a means of declaring its readiness to host millions of eligible voters at over 23,296 voting stations across the country next year.
2024 Elections: Indie candidates can now contest for seats in Parliament
According to the Electoral Commission, the NPE 2024 will be historic, as independent candidates will, for the first time, be able to contest for seats in the national and provincial elections.
The legislation enabling the participation of independent candidates was signed into law in April by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Commission, led by the institution’s chairperson Mosotho Moepya and Sy Mamabolo, the Chief Electoral Officer, presided over the launch of the NPE 2024 at Gallagher Estate in Midrand and was attended by various stakeholders, including political parties.
“Today, we stand proud as the pre-eminent Constitutionally-mandated body that manages elections, and make bold that we are ready for the NPE 2024,” Mamabolo said.
Mamabolo explained that while the term of office of the current legislatures, national and provincial governments ends around 18 May 2023, the national and provincial governments will remain in office until the newly elected public representatives are able to take office.
He said in terms of the Constitution, the country must have an election within 90 days of the expiry of the legislature’s terms.
“Therefore, an election is possible between May and the middle of August 2024. The proclamation of the election date is by our Head of State, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, after consultation with the Electoral Commission.
“Our expectation is that the provincial elections will be, as they have for the past 30 years, synchronised with the national election,” he said.
Mamabolo said once the Electoral Amendment Act was signed into law by the President, the Commission moved with speed to finalise the supporting business applications necessary for the implementation of the Act.
Prior to each election, the Electoral Commission launches registration drives aimed at enrolling new voters and empowering existing ones to scrutinise and, where necessary, amend their registration details.
The Commission reiterated its commitment to open nearly all voting stations for the weekend of November 18th and 19th, 2023.
This monumental effort not only registers new voters but also facilitates the verification of the roll. Station-based registration ensures equitable access to the vote.
Voter registration goes digital
Furthermore, the Electoral Commission has expanded registration modalities to enable voters’ continuous enrolment.
For those with internet access, registration, inspection and updates are accessible via www.elections.org.za.
Voters may also visit local Commission offices or capitalise on various activation campaigns to register and update their information.
The theme for NPE 2024 will be: “Your Democracy, Own It” – celebrating the fruits of democracy by showcasing different, real-life experiences of young South Africans from all corners of the country.
The Commission called on South Africans to use its online portal for registration, verification and updates.
“We urge you to actively participate in the registration weekends and exercise your responsibility as engaged citizens who choose their own representatives.
“We extend a call to all electoral stakeholders to stand shoulder to shoulder with us, working collaboratively to make these historic elections a resounding success,” Mamabolo said.
Moepya said the Electoral Commission of South Africa is approaching the upcoming elections with immense pride and a profound sense of responsibility.
“This is so because our electoral democracy has come a long way since those historic elections in 1994 when millions of South Africans cast their votes for the very first time. While it is essential that we recognise the remarkable achievements of the past three decades, it is necessary for us to embrace the challenges that lie before us,” he said.