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IEC declares itself ready for elections

Over 26 million South Africans are registered to vote on 3 August.

FILE: This time next week, millions of South Africans across the country will be lining up to cast their ballots. Picture: Winnie Theletsane/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - With exactly a week to go until South Africans go to the polls in the local government elections, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it's done all it can to ensure it delivers free and fair elections.

The commission will today launch the national results operations centre for the 2016 municipal elections in Tshwane.

Over 26 million South Africans are registered to vote on 3 August.

WATCH: Young voters refuse to vote in Northern Cape

This time next week, millions of South Africans across the country will be lining up to cast their ballots.

The IEC's Sy Mamabolo says the commission is ready to deliver credible elections.

"Today is a big day, we are declaring our total readiness to the country."

Mamabolo says the IEC has used the past year to ensure that everything is in order.

"It has been a long journey which started with the handover of the initial final wards by the Municipal Demarcation Board and it will culminate with the declaration of the results a few days after 3 August."

The IEC has urged all those who have registered to vote in the upcoming local government elections to go to the polls and elect councillors who will help develop their communities.

POLITICAL KILLINGS REPORT

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko is today expected to report back on the work of a task team he set up to investigate a spate of political killings in the run-up to the local government elections

So far, 12 political leaders are reported to have lost their lives.

Ministry spokesperson Musa Zondi says, "As the Police Ministry we could not leave the situation like that where people feel that the climate may not be conducive to free and fair elections, so we had to act and set up the task team."

MKHIZE DENIES FACTIONALISM

ANC Treasurer Zweli Mkhize says any confusion around whether the party's Western Cape leader Marius Fransman has been formally reinstated is only because of possible delays in the flow of information.

But Mkhize denies that any factionalism is involved after Fransman said he had been reinstated - while Luthuli House said he was still suspended.

Fransman first claimed to be back in office while campaigning with President Jacob Zuma last week.

He says there could be a simple explanation for what's happening around Fransman's situation.

"If it looks strange that such a thing has happened, we do know that there's a delay the flow of information and those kinds of things happen."

He adds that this is hurting the party.

"It is damaging but there's no factionalism. The issue of comrade Marius relates to him alone. He doesn't have anyone linked to it."

Mkhize is confident that the ANC will retain all the major metros next week.

CAMPAIGNING

By law, political parties must stop campaigning at midnight on the eve of the elections.

Politicians have been feverishly crisscrossing the country drumming up support for their parties ahead of the 3 August polls.

They've also been using social media, adverts and text messages to communicate their political offering to voters.

The IEC's Kate Bapela says political parties and independent candidates may not hold rallies, community gatherings or campaign after midnight on 2 August.

"It's based on the Electoral Act, on how political parties are meant to conduct themselves in an election."

But what does this mean for politicians who use social media to spread their political gospel?

Law consultant Emma Sadleir explains: "Content on Twitter is something between advertising and a political gathering. There is engagement, which makes me think that this type of rule should apply to social media. We are in the dark as to whether it applies or not."

According to figures released this year, South Africa has more than seven million people on Twitter, 13 million on Facebook and nearly three million on Instagram.

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