JOHANNESBURG – Election 2016 kicks into high gear this week after President Jacob Zuma declared 3 August as the date for the polls.
The ANC will launch its manifesto in the hotly contested Nelson Mandela Bay this weekend, followed by the DA on 23 April and the EFF on 30 April.
Meanwhile, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen has condemned the violence at some voter registration centres at the weekend.
While registration at over 22,000 stations took place without incident, work at about 40 IEC centres was disrupted.
The worst affected areas were Vuwani in the Vhembe District in Limpopo, Paarl and Wellington in the Western Cape and Hopefield in Gauteng.
Van Rooyen has called on all leaders to take responsibility for the violence and work towards ending it.
The SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) also condemned the violence as well as the torching of two houses in Masakona village outside Vuwani in Limpopo.
“Violent protests during voter registration and on election days [3 August] denies eligible voters the right to exercise their constitutional right to vote for parties and or candidates of their own choice,” Sanco national spokesman Jabu Mahlangu said.
Such action violated the electoral law which should be enforced with serious repercussions for those responsible for senseless violence and lawlessness, he said.
“Denying people their right to vote is a myopic strategy that in the long run impacts on service delivery and community development. The election campaign phase is a mandating period and not one during which grievances are resolved.”
He appealed to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister David van Rooyen to take the disruptions into account before issuing a proclamation that would close the voters’ rolls.
The IEC should be given space to devise a focused strategy to reach out to eligible voters who were affected before they were closed out, Mahlangu said.