City releases first ward committee election results

 

About 540 000 votes were cast by 53 907 voters in the first ward committee elections organised by the City of Johannesburg.

The official results of the elections, focusing on communities rather than political parties, were released this week by the speaker of the City’s council, Vasco Da Gama.

He said administering the R6-million election for the first time was daunting and filled with challenges.

The Independent Electoral Committee (IEC) usually administered the elections but this time assisted only in an advisory role.

This was due to a lack of funding for the commission.

Although the objection process is already completed and applicants notified of the outcome, the City will announce ward committees as soon as it is passed in council at the end of March.

Across the city, 285 voting stations were opened, 3 822 candidates contested and 539 065 votes were cast of which 106 579 were spoiled.

Each of the 53 907 voters had on average 10 votes to cast, reflecting the 10 portfolios.

Rafick Charles, a representative of the IEC, said the high number of spoiled ballots was because of every voter not voting on all 10 of the portfolios per ward.

Some voters, he said, would only vote for one portfolio, leaving the other nine ballots spoiled. The IEC also assisted the City with zip-zip machines programmed to scan voters per ward and trained City staff on how to use them.

“Joburg is the only city that currently runs the process as the IEC would. I give them a huge thumbs up, notwithstanding the challenges,” Charles said.

Commenting on the voter turn-out, he said the City saw more voters than other comparable cities.

But Pat Nhlapo, deputy director of community participation within the office of the speaker, believes more work needs to be done to see people participating in the ward committee elections every five years.

“We ran ads on the radio and newspapers but we are aware of the apathy regarding these elections,” he said.

Da Gama said all went well, with the exception of pockets of political interference and parties campaigning around stations.

“I urged councillors not to get involved and allow candidates to run their own campaigns,” he said.

Although it achieved success, the City will look towards other, cheaper methods of conducting the election next time around.

Related articles:

What is a ward committee?

Councillor’s Corner: What are ward committees’ roles in service delivery?

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