With all the jargon and acronyms politicians throw around, most people are left confused on the difference between national elections and the local municipal elections that are taking place next week.

South Africa’s democracy has three levels; National, Provincial and Local government.  The local government which will be elected next week make and implement by-laws. This layer of the government consists of councils that are led by the speaker, mayor and ward councillors.

According to Section 152 of the Constitution, the most important function of the local government is to provide a democratic and accountable government for local communities. It also promotes social and economic development and a safe and healthy environment.

If you reside in Johannesburg, Soweto, Alexandra, Orange Farm or Sandton, you would fall under the city of Johannesburg municipality.

Readers from Tembisa, Germiston, Boksburg, Benoni or Kempton Park fall under Ekurhuleni municipality. While those from Pretoria, Temba or Centurion, your municipality would be city of Tshwane.

In a municipality election, one votes for a political party as well as the ward councillor of their choice. Voters at a metro vote with two ballot papers, a yellow one known as proportional representation (PR) ballot. This ballot form is where one votes for a political party.

The second ballot paper is a white form known as ward elections. A voter chooses the person they would like to represent their ward.

 Voters at local municipality or district council, have an additional green ballot sheet which is used to select the political party for the district council.

Now that you are powered with knowledge of local government, go out and mark your spot.