The Constitution of South Africa places all elections
and referendums in the country in all three spheres
of government under the control of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), established in terms of
the IEC Act, 1996 (Act 51 of 1996) [PDF] .
Local government elections were held in May 2011. The highest-ever voter turnout in local elections since 2000 was recorded. The turnout was 57,54% of the estimated over 22,7 million eligible voters in the country. The number of councillors appointed from these elections increased by 12,3% and 8,5% from the 2000 and 2006 elections respectively.
By-elections take place within 90 days after the resignation
or death of a councillor, or whenever a political party
exercises its right to change its representation in a council.
In terms of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act,
1998, [PDF] a by-election must be held if:
- the IEC does not declare the result of the election of a
municipal council, district management area or ward within the
period specified in terms of the Electoral Commission Act, 1996
- a court sets aside the election of a council, or in a district
management area or in a ward
- a council is dissolved
- a vacancy in a ward occurs
- a councillor vacates office during a term of office if he/she
resigns in writing; no longer qualifies to be a councillor; was
elected from a party list and ceased to be a member of the
relevant party; contravenes a provision of the Code of Conduct
for Councillors; is a representative of a local council in a
district council and ceases to be a member of that local
council; or is replaced by the local council as its
representative in the district council.
- While the Electoral Commission is responsible for the
management of all by-elections, it also uses these by-elections
as an opportunity to update the National Common Voters' Roll,
refining electoral processes and conducting voter education.
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