File picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has remained silent on the date for the elections, despite urgent calls for him to announce it.

The IEC has said the president will have to make an announcement on the date for the polls. The IEC is registering voters this weekend.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said on Thursday that the president would make an announcement soon, but did not say when.

The chairperson of the portfolio committee on home affairs, Hlomani Chauke, said they were also waiting for Ramaphosa to announce the date.

He said that in their discussions with the IEC in Parliament, the commission had said the elections would be held in May.

Chauke said the IEC would return to Parliament next month.

“From the point of view of the IEC, they envisaged the elections (being) held in May. But the president is the one who comes up with the date,” said Chauke.

“We will do an assessment of preparations for the elections,” he said.

The IEC has complained about its budget being slashed by R300million, from R1.5billion in the 2014 elections to R1.2bn this year.

The Treasury has been implementing austerity measures in government departments over the past few years, saving billions of rand.

The government cut R29bn from last year’s budget, presented by Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni, as part of the cost-cutting measures.

The IEC said it hoped many people would show up this weekend to register for the elections. This year’s poll is expected to be one of the toughest elections since the 1994 polls.

The ANC lost three metros in the 2016 municipal elections and its support has declined. This year’s national and provincial polls have been described as the most crucial since the start of democracy.

Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele said their offices would extend work hours to allow for the collection of documents this weekend.

He said the number of uncollected identity documents had been reduced from 90000 to 55000 this week alone, with Gauteng the worst affected.

Political Bureau