The earliest possible date for next year's local government elections is 4 August 2021 and must be held before 1 November 2021.
The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) announced these dates for the 2021 local government elections (LGE) during a virtual briefing to Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on Tuesday.
The IEC also gave an update on its readiness for the 2021 LGE, which, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, looks set to go ahead.
IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said elections must take place within 90 days of expiry of the term.
He said the electoral system remains unaltered, with half the number of councillors being elected directly from wards and the balance of councillors elected from party lists.
Mashinini said the Covid-19 pandemic had also impacted the work of the municipal demarcation board (MDB).
"Importantly, there has not, for this coming year, been any changes to the outer municipal boundaries ahead of next year's elections. However, there are the usual changes to ward boundaries along with a number of outstanding or contested municipal provincial boundary disputes which may arise ahead of the municipal elections," he said.
Mashinini said voting day will be on a Wednesday and will be preceded by special voting days.
There will also be targeted registration and two voter registration weekends ahead of the local elections.
"(It is) not desirable to have an election in season of inclement weather. Similarly, avoid public holidays, school holidays and periods of examinations," he said.
The IEC's planning is based on the estimated 23 200 voting districts.
The IEC's procurement process for materials to support voter registration events has commenced.
The delivery date for all registration materials is scheduled for 15 December while the procurement for voting materials is planned to commence in August 2020.
Bulk voting materials is set for delivery between 1 April and May 2021.
The procurement and distribution of health-related materials may (also) be necessary, the IEC said.