IEC urges candidates to collect signatures before the deadline.

The election train has begun to leave the station and all must be prepared for the journey, is the caution from the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

Catch the train or be left behind

Catch the train or be left behind, said IEC commissioner Dr Nomsa Masuku, as she advised that candidates should continue collecting signatures to be able to qualify and register by the set deadline.

She was referring to independent candidates who were each expected to submit 1 000 signatures to enable them to be eligible to contest in the 2024 general election.

Masuku said now that the election date had been announced and the voters’ roll had closed, the IEC train had started “moving and it cannot be stopped”.

Voters’ roll closed

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo, who unveiled the commission’s timetable and highlighted key cut-off times and dates for various activities regarding the elections, said with the voters’ roll closed, this meant no further voter registration would take place.

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“The commission reiterates its willingness and ability to deliver this mammoth national project. The publication of the timetable and the cut-off dates it entails serve as an impetus for the intensification of preparations,” Mamabolo said.

The timetable was published on Saturday and a provisional voters’ roll, which contained 27.6 million voters, was published for inspection yesterday.

Mamabolo said an electronic version of the roll would be made available at all IEC offices and those wishing to object to the inclusion or exclusion of a voter on the roll must do so by next Monday.

Voters roll to be certified on 12 March

The commission would investigate and determine the objections to the voters’ roll by 11 March. After all was corrected and no more objections, the IEC CEO would certify the voters roll on 12 March.

The IEC reiterated three ballot papers would be used with the introduction of the third ballot resulting from the inclusion of independent candidates for the first time since 1994.

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Mamabolo said all independents and political parties who intend to contest the elections were obliged to submit their nomination requirements by 5pm on 8 March.

Compliance notices would be issued on 18 March and an opportunity would be given for noncompliant candidates and parties to rectify matters by 20 March.

Notices issued on 22 March

In cases where candidates were nominated by more than one party, such parties were expected to either remove and substitute or confirm the candidates.

The notices for that would be issued on 22 March. The political parties have until 25 March to submit their requests for confirmation, removal or replacement of candidates.

The provisional lists of candidates would be published on 26 and 27 March, giving opportunities to those with objections against some candidates to lodge their complaints on 27 March.

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Anyone or party not satisfied with its decision may approach the Electoral Court for an appeal but that must happen by 2 April.

Final list will be published on 12 April

The final lists of candidates would be published on 10 April, with candidates receiving their candidature certificates on 12 April.

The printing of ballot papers for the elections would follow as all candidates and their photographs would have been submitted and confirmed.

Mamabolo announced that 23 292 voting stations and 33 mobile voting stations would be used for the elections.

He said those who would not be at their voting districts on 29 May, the voting day, may apply for special votes – set to take place on 27 and 28 May – by 3 May.

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