Municipal elections 2016 | Western Cape Government

22Covid-19 Alerts

COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Dashboard

View Vaccine information

TB Information and Dashboard

View TB information

Municipal elections 2016

Municipal elections

The date for the municipal elections is 3 August 2016. The President has declared the day a public holiday to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to cast their vote. 

Municipal elections 

Municipal or local government elections take place every 5 years, usually 2 years after the national and provincial elections. Municipalities are responsible for delivery of basic services such as water, sanitation, waste removal, among others to communities in the relevant service delivery area.

Why is it important to vote in municipal elections?

Voting in the municipal elections gives you a chance to choose the party and person who you believe would be best at providing basic services to your community.

At municipal level, you're voting for a ward councillor who represents a political party. This councillor oversees service delivery in a cluster of suburbs known as wards or subcouncils.

How are municipal elections different to national elections?

  National elections Municipal elections
When does it happen?

Every 5 years. 

Note: The 5 year-periods don’t correspond for national and municipal elections. A 2 year gap is observed.

Every 5 years.

Note: The 5 year-periods don’t correspond for national and municipal elections. A 2 year gap is observed.

Who do I vote for? A political party, and not individuals.

A political party and a ward councillor to get seats at the municipal level.

What roles do the succesfully elected officials play? President, national ministers, members of Parliament, Premiers and members of the Executive Councils (MECs). Mayors, mayoral commities and municipal and ward councillors, sub-councils and proportional representation.
What happens after the vote?

Registered political parties will receive a share of seats in Parliament in direct proportion to the number of votes cast for it in the election.

Each party then decides on members to fill the seats it has won.

Municipal elections will elect the members of the district, metropolitan and local municipal councils.

These councils will turn elect the mayors of the municipalities to office.


What is the role of the Independent Electoral Commission?

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is an independent body created under the Constitution. Although it’s funded with public money, it's completely independent of the government. The IEC will oversee the entire election process to ensure that it’s free and fair.

Municipal by-elections

If a municipal seat becomes vacant because of the death, expulsion or resignation of a ward councillor, a municipal by-election must take place within 90 days to elect a new councillor. These elections are completely different and ad hoc elections held for a specific seat.

Voting station

Image: Government Communication and Information Services (GCIS)
Registering as a voter

You can register as a voter if:

  • you’re a South African citizen,
  • you have a South African green barcoded identity document (ID), smartcard ID or a temporary ID,
  • you’re 16 years or older to register but you must be 18 years or older to vote, and
  • you have to register in person and no one else can do it on your behalf.

The IEC provides more information to help you register as a voter. If you haven't registered for the municipal elections, you can still register at your local IEC office.


You don’t have to register every time that you vote. You’ll only need to re-register when you’ve moved to a different voting district or if your voting district or ward boundaries have changed.

Am I already registered?

You can find out if you’re registered to vote by sending your ID number via sms to 32810 (it costs R1 per SMS) or by checking online.

The voting process

Step 1: Find out if you’re registered.

Step 2: Register during the registration weekends or at your local IEC office.

Step 3: Take your barcoded green ID or Smart ID with you and vote at your voting station between 7am and 7pm on election day. In case of special votes you’ll have to vote on the days indicated. Note: your driver's licence will not be accepted.

Step 4: Votes are counted straight after the voting station close.

Step 5: Election results are made public.

Step 6: The political parties take their seats (in proportion to the votes they received) at national, provincial or municipal level, depending on the type of election.

How do I vote on election day?

  1. Visit a voting station between 7am and 7pm. You can find your voting station by submitting your street, suburb, village or farm name here.
  2. Present your valid ID or Smart ID to the door controller at the entrance of the voting station.
  3. Check that you are on the voters' roll at the voters’ roll table where election officials will take your ID document and check for your name and identity number on the segment of the national common voters’ roll for that voting district.
  4. Get your ballot papers from an IEC official. Make sure that there is a stamp at the back of your ballot papers to verify that they're issued to you on that Election Day.
  5. Get your identification documents stamped, and have an IEC official mark your thumb with ink to show that you did cast your vote.
  6. Find an empty voting booth and make your 'X'.
  7. Cast your vote. After having made your mark, an IEC official will check that there's a stamp at the back of each of your ballots, you can drop your completed ballot paper through the slot in the top of the ballot box.
  8. Exit the voting station.

The ballot paper that you'll use to cast your vote at the municipal elections will have a list of all political parties and a list of candidates fore each ward that you can vote for.

Here is a sample ballot paper.

IEC how to vote.

Where do I go to vote?

You can find your voting station by submitting your street, suburb, village or farm name here.

What do I do I if I can’t vote on 3 August?

If you’re unable to vote at your voting station on 3 August, you can apply for a special vote. You can apply if you’re disabled, pregnant or not able to vote at your voting station on election day. This can only be done if you’re a registered South African voter and meet all other criteria.

Special votes will be cast on 1 and 2 August. Because municipal elections pertain directly to the area which you live in, South Africans living overseas will not be able to cast a vote.

Visit the IEC website to find out how to apply for a special vote.

More information

The IEC released a 2016 Municipal Elections Handbook that gives information on the following:

  • The constitution and democracy
  • Municipal elections
  • Political parties and candidates
  • Voters (voter’s roll, how to register, voting process, special votes, how to contact your ward councillor)
  • Media
  • Voting day, counting day and results

You can also phone the IEC's call centre on 0800 11 8000 which is free from a landline, or you can email

The content on this page was last updated on 2 August 2016