Local Government Elections: Independent candidates hopeful for City of Cape Town council seats
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Cape Town - After a short but strenuous campaign period leading up to the local government elections today, Cape Town’s independent candidates were earnestly hoping for a seat on the City council through success in their wards.
IEC Provincial Electoral Officer Michael Hendrickse said more than 12400 candidates were nominated in Western Cape municipalities, of which only 85 were independents contesting the elections.
With a total of 231 seats on the City of Cape Town council, 115 seats were reserved for Proportional Representation (PR) and 116 seats were reserved for Ward Representation (WR), these independent candidates need to win their individual wards if they hope to secure a ward seat on the council.
“The electoral system, in terms of our Constitution, allows for a mixed electoral system of PR combined with WR – this is also known as first-past-the-post – which literally means the one with the most votes is the one which gets that seat.
"Whereas PR ensures that every vote actually counts, so even though you don’t come first, coming second may still give you a seat and therefore representation of the people that supported that particular political party,” said Hendrickse.
Hendrickse said the constitutional requirement ensured that the electoral system must result, in general, in proportional representation – which was ensured through their municipal council seat calculation formula.
Explaining the allocation of seats available on a Metro council, Hendrickse said the total seats for a municipality’s council was divided 50/50 between WR and PR. However, in instances where metro municipalities had an odd number of seats on its council, the leftover seat would be given to WR.
“In Metro councils, each voter receives two ballots – a ward and proportional ballot. On the ward ballot voters vote for a candidate, and on the PR for a party,” said Hendrickse.
Independent ward councillor candidate Ursula Schenker in Ward 63 said as her ward consisted of 18 898 registered voters, she hoped to receive 51% of their vote to qualify as the new ward councillor and secure her seat on the City council.
“Having left no stone unturned I can only hope that I managed to resonate with the residents in the Ward and they, in turn, will reward me with their confidence in my ability to achieve all the challenges of accountable governance,” said Schenker.
Independent ward councillor candidate Riyad Isaac for Ward 43 said he sacrificed a lot of time and energy to get his message across to the residents and it all boiled down to the votes today, of which he was reasonably anxious and optimistic about the outcome.