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City ready to hold third round of ward committee polls Print E-mail
09 February 2017

It’s all systems go for the third and final round of the City of Johannesburg’s 2017 ward committee elections, to be held in regions D and G on Saturday February 11.

Region D consists mostly of Soweto. Region G includes areas such as Naturena, Eldorado Park, Lenasia, Zakarriya Park, Vlakfontein, Grasmere, Orange Farm, Poortjie and Drieziek.

Two rounds of the elections have already been held in regions A, B, C, E and F. An estimated 66 000 residents of regions D and G are expected to cast their ballots between 9am and 5pm on Saturday. The City will deploy more than 880 staff members to manage the electoral process at 110 voting stations across the two regions.

“Some of our presiding officers are in training right now,” said Speaker of Council Cllr Vasco da Gama on Wednesday February 8.

“This is done to ensure that they improve on the past two rounds of the elections. We are looking at everything that has disrupted the previous rounds. This time around we are dealing with large numbers, so it is very important that we ensure that we have well-trained staff members managing the electoral process.”

Last weekend, there were reports that some voting stations had people voting more than once.

The Speaker said it was due to the fact that the ink was not properly applied. “We have not changed the ink but we have established the standard way of applying it.”

He said this also formed part of the training the officials underwent. “A few of our officials were only applying the ink directly on the nails, whereas the right way of applying it is to cover a small part of the skin just above the nail, which should also be a part of the mark.

“When it is applied that way, it is irremovable and stays there for weeks. So, it was unfortunate that some of our officials missed the technique. But we have learned a lot through this process since this is the first time we conduct the elections on our own,” said Cllr Da Gama.

The other problem had to do with the Zip Zap machines. “In this day and age, when technology is so advanced, we cannot run elections without equipment that is not able to recognise that someone has already voted.

“It is problematic because it costs the city a lot of money as we now have to go back and reprint ballot papers to conduct re-elections. The Zip Zap machines made our problems worse in the previous two rounds.

“The electoral process could be much smoother if you could have a Zip Zap machine that is able to track and detect when a person attempts to vote again,” he said.

Cllr Da Gama said he expected the third and final round of the polls to be smoother than the previous ones as all contingency plans had been put in place.

The City’s Region G offices in Lenasia will serve as the elections’ main nerve centre. The other nerve centres will be at the Jabulani Civic Centre and the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg.

Established in terms of the Local Authorities Act of 1998, ward committees play a crucial role in municipal affairs in that they assist democratically elected public representatives in all wards to carry out their mandates.

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Last Updated on 09 February 2017