Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says the experiences gained from the various by-elections are an indication that despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa is ready for the polls in October.
Dlamini-Zuma said this when she tabled the department’s Budget Vote to a mini-plenary of the National Assembly on Thursday.
“Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the Demarcation Board managed to hand over its work to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
“We are therefore confident that because of the experiences we have gained in the various by-elections, we are ready for the 2021 Local Government Elections.
“These 147 by-elections which we have run between November and March were in 133 wards, in all provinces and involved 866 772 voters,” she said.
Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that this year’s local government elections would take place on 27 October 2021. At the time, he urged eligible and first-time voters to ensure they are registered to participate in the elections.
Dlamini-Zuma said government will also use the 19 May polls, which involve 40 wards in 7 provinces with 362 965 registered voters, to refine approaches.
“We remain confident that the regulations, protocols and plans we have put in place for these and the nation-wide October elections, will create an environment for free and fair elections.
“The revised COVID-19 regulations enable voter canvassing and voting.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with the IEC in the context of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Municipal Elections.
“We also believe that the elections offer all our parties an opportunity to fix the municipalities by deploying and sending our best to this sphere of government which is most important to our people.”
Update on the implementation of the District Development Model
Dlamini-Zuma said, meanwhile, that in implementing the District Development Model (DDM) in the pilot sites, government had also committed to training more than 1 000 young people in partnership with the Department of Rural Development.
“We are pleased to announce that, so far 554 young people have completed their training in agriculture related areas such the production and processing of maize, vegetables, beef, dairy and pork.
“These young people will either be placed in agriculture institutions or will be supported to start community based initiatives.”
She said 319 young people have been trained in a range of non-agricultural related areas, including Small Business Management, Environmental Waste Management, Hospitality, Construction and Manufacturing.
Of these young people:
- 73 have been provided business opportunities by the King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality;
- 25 have been absorbed by the eThekwini Metro; and
- 100 have been absorbed by the Wholesale and Retail SETA who will provide them with start-up capital.
“In Waterberg, a further 53 young people are being trained in Small Business Management, Environmental Waste Management and Hospitality.”