By 28 February 2024
Election date announcement implications:
- In a media briefing on Monday, 26 February 2024, the IEC brought attention to important dates and deadlines regarding the voter roll, candidate nominations list, and other important elements of the election process.
- An important implication of the election date announcement is that voter registration is now closed.
- The final voters roll sits at 7 million people, this is more than the number of registered voters in the 2019 election, which had around 26 million.
Guidelines on the use of social media during election period:
- The Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA) supported by the IEC held an event to launch the Principles and Guidelines for the Use of Digital and Social Media in Elections in Africa.
- The IEC chairperson, Mosotho Moepya expressed the importance of acting responsibly on social media and other digital platforms to ensure a free and fair electoral process.
- The aim is for these guidelines to help inform how to be responsible and help curb disinformation from spreading.
- For more on disinformation see:
ANC Manifesto launch:
- On the 24 February 2024, the African National Congress (ANC) held their manifesto launch in Durban, KZN.
- They are among a few political parties who have held significant campaign events in the highly contested province.
- On 20 February 2024, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the 2024 South African general election would take place on Wednesday, 29 May 2024.
- The election date was welcomed by the IEC, which reiterated their readiness for the election.
- They also announced the final day to register or update voter information is 23 February 2024. Eligible South Africans are urged to register online before then by visiting: https://registertovote.elections.org.za/
Determination of seats:
- The IEC released the determination of seats for the Provincial Legislature ahead of the 2024 general elections.
- The provincial legislature seats are calculated based on the provinces population statistics and the representation of political parties.
- The number of seats that will be contested in the provincial legislature is around 445 seats, with this figure subject to change as the Western Cape has not yet confirmed its number of seats.
DA Manifesto Launch:
- On Saturday, 17 February 2024, the Democratic Alliance (DA) launched their manifesto in Pretoria.
BY 12 FEBRUARY 2024:
- On 10 February 2024, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) launched their manifesto in KwaZulu-Natal.
- They are the first of the top three political parties in South Africa to launch their manifesto, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) and African National Congress (ANC) launching theirs on 17 and 24 February respectively.
- President Cyril Ramaphosa will announce the 2024 election date by the 23 February 2024.
- He was expected to announce the date during his SONA Speech on 8 February, however, the presidency spokesperson indicated shortly before the SONA that the president would announce the date within 15 days.
By 7 FEBRUARY 2024:
- The IEC announced that the inmates’ voter registration took place between 30 January and 01 February 2024 facilitated in conjunction with the Department of Correctional Services.
- The IEC is expected to release the Party Funding’s Third Quarter Disclosure Report for the 2023/2024 financial year sometime in February or March.
- On the 29 January 2024, former president Jacob Zuma was suspended by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC, following his announcement of support for the uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party in December 2023. The ANC’s general secretary Fikile Mbalula has stated that this suspension is justified as a contravention of rule 25.60 of the party’s Constitution.
Election registration weekend of February 2024:
- On 3 and 4 February 2024, the IEC held the final voter registration weekend, in efforts to ensure that people are registered ahead of the general election.
- The IEC reports that it was a successful weekend with over 2 million people interacting with voting stations or the online website over the weekend.
- Out of the 2 million, 457 000 people registered for the first time while 6 million people updated their voter information.
- The voter roll now stands at 27,4 million.
First Voter registration
- The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) conducted its inaugural voter registration weekend campaign on November 19 and 20, 2023. During this campaign, 568,374 first-time registrars were successfully registered.
- Following the successful voter registration weekend campaign, the IEC has declared that it will run its second and final voter registration weekend on Saturday, 3 February, and Sunday, 4 February 2024.
- While the second voter registration weekend will be in February 2023, citizens aged 16 and older are still encouraged and invited to register to vote online through the Commission’s portal: https://registertovote.elections.org.za/voter-online-registration/overview.
- Additionally, the Electoral Commission announced that on January 26, 27, and 28, 2024, South Africans residing overseas may register at embassies, high commissions, and consulates.
Key issues surrounding the election
- In the run-up to the 2024 elections, one of the most contentious issues has been representation and the possible place and participation of independents in the National Assembly. The Constitutional Court has since made a ruling on matters attendant to this.
- On requirements to stand, the Constitutional Court overturned the requirement that independent candidates seeking to run in the 2024 provincial and national elections get the signatures of 15% of the population residing in the area they are running in. This favourable independent candidate ruling also states that instead, independent candidates will require at least 1000 signatories in their respective constituencies.
- On seat allocation, the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the current status quo, arguing that the Electoral Amendment Act is constitutional and based on proportional representation.
- Noting the above, the Constitutional Court (CC) dismissed the Independent Candidate Association of South Africa’s (ICASA) application to alter parliament’s seating arrangement from 200 elected seats / 200 proportional seats to a 350/50 split.
- On 2 December 2023, the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs resolved that to include a larger pool of individuals with knowledge of various electoral issues, including representation, the appointment procedure for the Electoral Reform Consultation Panel needs to be reopened.
- While the pronouncement on the appointment of the panel has been delayed for some time, the portfolio committee’s resolutions suggest that we might finally see a start to work on forging meaningful electoral reform.
- The official election day has not yet been announced, although it is still projected to be in May.
- President Ramaphosa is expected to officially announce the election day at the State of the Nation Address, which is expected to be held on Thursday, 8 February 2024.
- Opposition parties have also made calls for the election date to be announced at the SONA, citing that not knowing the official date may negatively impact their planning and campaigning work.
- On 16 December 2023, former President Jacob Zuma launched a new ANC splinter party, called the MK Party (Umkhonto WeSizwe) which he says he will be campaigning and voting for.
- Following Zuma’s backing of this party, and his announcement of his return to active politics, journalists sent queries to the IEC on his eligibility to stand for public office.
- The IEC has since clarified that, due to his recent imprisonment and according to the constitution, Zuma does not qualify to stand for public office.
- In its response, the IEC explained that it relied on Section 47(e) of South Africa’s Constitution, which prohibits the holding of public office by anyone found guilty and sentenced to more than 12 months in jail without the option of paying a fine.
- However, this disqualification under Section 47 lapses 5 years after the sentence has been completed, suggesting that, should he wish, Zuma may stand for election in the 2029 General elections.
- With the election campaign in full swing across South Africa, several political parties are preparing to launch their manifestos in the coming weeks and months.
- The largest three political parties, ANC, DA and EFF, are set to launch their manifestos after SONA, which is scheduled for 8 February. There have also been growing calls for President Ramaphosa to announce the election date during his SONA.
- The EFF plans to launch its manifesto on the 10th of February 2024, shortly after SONA, while the DA and ANC, are set to launch their manifestos on the 17th and 24th of February 2024, respectively.
- Rise Mzansi, led by Songezo Zibi, and contesting their first general election, launched their manifesto on Saturday, 20th January 2024, in Pretoria. The newly formed political party will be one of more than 200 political parties estimated to be contesting the 2024 election.
- The month of March will be just as active, with several political parties scheduled to launch their manifestos. This includes the IFP which is set to launch theirs on 10 March 2024, and potentially ActionSA, which first entered the South African political space during the 2021 Local Government Elections.
- The Multiparty Charter, which is comprised of several opposition political parties, including the DA, IFP, and ActionSA, held a press briefing in Durban on 24 January 2024 to outline their first collaborative policy position. The briefing focused on issues regarding the economy.