Ahead of the forthcoming local government elections, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has outlined certain criteria prospective Councillors or party representatives would meet before filing out for the position.
According to the electoral body’s Act, one must not be schooled to qualify for councillorship as the standard of one’s education does not count.
Throwing more light on the issue, IEC spokeswoman Kate Bapela said anyone convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment without the option of a fine, be it in South Africa or another country is automatically disqualified, according to section 47 (1) (e) of the Constitution.
“A disqualification under this paragraph ends five years after the sentence has been completed,” Bapela elaborated.
In addition, she disclosed that people who are mentally challenged are not qualified to vie for the post of a Councillor in any municipality.
The Independent Electoral Commission’s Bapela also said any Councillor who chooses to migrate from his ward or municipality to another area is automatically unfit for further representation of that ward or municipality.
“Candidates need to be registered in the municipality where they are contesting. When a Councillor moves out of the municipality where they are registered, they no longer qualify to represent that ward or municipality,” she added.
On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court of South Africa gave the IEC a nod to go on with local elections in August, flinging away speculation of delay after a lower court demanded the addressed of all registered voters to be verified before the vote could take place.
Some opposition parties and independent candidates had earlier supported the idea of having prospective voters’ addresses verified in order to ensure the vote is not compromised.
However, the forthcoming election would be a major test to South Africa’s embattled President, Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC), having been under pins and needles following corruption and state capture allegations, mismanagement of taxpayers’ money and several others.