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Ward committee polls to be rerun in six Jozi wards Print E-mail
15 March 2017
Wards

Voters in six of the 135 City of Johannesburg wards will have to go back to the ballot box in a few weeks’ time after ward committee elections in their areas – held over three Saturdays in January and February this year – were mired in controversy and irregularities.

Council Speaker Cllr Vasco da Gama announced during a media conference at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein on Tuesday March 14 that the supplementary elections would be held in wards 12, 37, 40, 49, 119 and 129 after voters raised objections about the legitimacy of the electoral process, qualifications of some of the candidates on the ballot papers, the lack of a voters’ roll, voters casting ballots more than once in certain wards, and party politicking and lobbying in the voting stations on election day.

“The objection process has been concluded and all applicants have been informed of the outcomes,” Speaker Da Gama said.

A total of 539 065 voters cast their ballots in 284 voting stations between January 28 and February 11 across all the City’s seven regions. About 3 822 candidates contested the elections for 10 portfolios in each ward. There were 106 579 spoilt ballots.

Electoral Commission Manager Rafick Charles said despite the objections the elections, which cost the City about R6-million, were “free and fair”.

“We’re confident that the process went fairly well. All officials who conducted the elections had received good training from the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission),” Charles said.

The Speaker said the final report of the elections would be taken to council before the end of March. This will be followed by an induction programme and training of all the newly elected ward committee members.

This year’s ward committee elections, established in terms of the Local Government Act of 1998, followed the August 2016 local government elections. Ward committees play an important role in municipal affairs in that they assist democratically elected public representatives to carry out their mandate.

The newly elected ward committee members will serve their communities in sectors such as housing, transport, public safety, finance and economic development, environment and infrastructure services, community development, health, development planning and urban management.

They will be entitled to a R1 000 monthly stipend as well as cellphone allowances. Although ward committees have no legal persona, they serve as advisory committees in support of ward councillors. Under the leadership of ward councillors, they facilitate meaningful participation in council affairs and in the resolution of residents’ problems, over and above other stakeholder engagements.

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Last Updated on 15 March 2017