Cabinet sets up inter-ministerial committee to prepare for 2021 local elections
National elections might only have happened last month, but the cabinet has already moved swiftly to plan for the next vote in two years.
It has set up an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) to manage the logistical and administrative preparations for the municipal elections in 2021.
This is according to minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu, who was addressing the media on Thursday on the outcomes of the fortnightly cabinet meeting in Cape Town.
Mthembu said the IMC, to be chaired by co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, would work with the Electoral Commission and other relevant bodies to ensure preparations for the elections went smoothly.
Mthembu added that the committee would work closely with the Municipal Demarcation Board to ensure municipal boundary issues, which affect the wards and municipalities to be contested, are finalised well ahead of time.
The IMC would include ministers such as Tito Mboweni (finance), Aaron Motsoaledi (home affairs), Mthembu himself, and Ayanda Dlodlo (state security). Justice minister Ronald Lamola would also be on the committee.
Directors-general from their departments would constitute the IMC's technical support team.
"This is not the first time we have set up an IMC on elections, by the way. We have done so in the past, when we had the last local government elections in 2016.
"Mainly, the work of the committee is to deal with any matter which may militate adversely towards the holding of local government elections, whether they are security related ... some may be home affairs related. As we all know, you need to have an ID to vote.
"Some of the work that will have to done in the lead-up to the elections is to ensure that municipal boundaries are concluded. So this committee, among other things, will have to work with the demarcation board around these issues. This committee of cabinet will then become a link between all these bodies responsible for elections, including the IEC."
Mthembu said the IEC should have an element to interact with on whatever issues they think might disturb the election. "That body, in the cabinet's view, is the IMC," said Mthembu.
He added that cabinet was concerned about this year's municipal audit outcomes, released by auditor-general Kimi Makwetu on Wednesday. The AG's report showed that a mere 18 municipalities out of 257 had obtained clean audits.
Mthembu said it was worrying that Makwetu's auditors had been at the receiving end of death threats and other acts of intimidation during the execution of their duties.