Mbombela takes a vote to allow IEC to advertise registration weekend

MBOMBELA – The local municipality yesterday voted to allow the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to put up posters advertising its voter registration weekend.

The IEC is having a registration weekend for voters on March 5 and 6.

After it put up posters in Mbombela alerting voters to the fact, Mbombela Local Municipality (MLM) notified them to take down the politically neutral posters as it had not obtained its permission.

On February 8 the South African Local Government Association (Salga) wrote to all municipalities, requesting that by-laws pertaining to the limitation on the number of posters, the payment of deposits and prohibitions on the areas of display of outside advertising be relaxed to accommodate political parties in the run-up to the elections “in order to allow political parties to erect the necessary election posters”.

IEC voter registration posters

Mr Joseph Ngala, spokesman for MLM, said the municipality could not summarily implement the request as it had to be approved by the municipal council first.

This permission was obtained during a special council sitting yesterday where a new municipal electoral officer (MEO) was also appointed in Mr TB Mkhabela.

Mr Jo Koster, DA councillor welcomed the appointment.

He said it was an important appointment, as the MEO chaired the IEC’s local co-ordinating committee but MLM has not had one for months.

Mr Sibusiso Nkosi, spokeman for the IEC in Mpumalanga, confirmed that MLM was the only municipality which had requested the IEC to remove their posters without permission.

MLM had also removed DA posters encouraging people to register to vote.

“This misunderstanding over the past weeks has been due to pure bad communication on the municipality’s side,” Koster said.

The municipal elections are to take place in the 90 days after May 17. The date is still to be announced by the minister of co-operative governance.

Mireille de Villiers

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