Ramaphosa announces extra public holiday for South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that 1 November will be a national public holiday due to the local government elections.

“The president calls on all registered voters to use the opportunity of the public holiday to exercise their democratic right and civic duty by voting in this election that empowers citizens to elect new leadership and influence service delivery where they live,” the presidency said in a statement on Monday (12 October).

“Voters are reminded as well that they will be able to cast their votes only at the polling stations in wards where they are registered. In the event that voters may consider travel, they will not be able to transfer their votes to voting stations away from their designated wards.”

“The president urges voters to ensure that they adhere to the Covid-19 health regulations as they exercise their vote,” it said.

Ramaphosa’s approval of the public holiday takes South Africa’s total public holidays in 2021 to 15 – including an additional two days off to celebrate public holidays which fall over a weekend.

The Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994) determines that whenever any public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following on it shall be a public holiday.

This means that 22 March 2021 and 27 December 2021 are additional public holidays in terms of the Act. The public holidays for 2021, according to the official government proclamationare as follows:

  • 1 January: New Year’s Day
  • 21 March: Human Rights Day
  • 22 March: Public holiday
  • 2 April: Good Friday
  • 5 April: Family Day
  • 27 April: Freedom Day
  • 1 May: Workers’ Day
  • 16 June: Youth Day
  • 9 August: National Women’s Day
  • 24 September: Heritage Day
  • 1 November: National elections*
  • 16 December: Day of Reconciliation
  • 25 December: Christmas Day
  • 26 December: Day of Goodwill
  • 27 December: Public holiday

Consecutive public holidays can significantly impact working arrangements and shifts, especially in workplaces that run a 24/7/365 operation. And while a ‘day off’ can impact economic productivity, it can help stave off fatigue-related issues.

With the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions likely to remain in place until the end of 2021, businesses should also be aware of the dates that workers are likely to apply for days off to maximise their leave time.

Employees are also likely to take advantage of the long weekends – with 1 November set to fall on a Monday in 2021.


Read: Government opens sports venues to spectators in South Africa – with conditions.

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Ramaphosa announces extra public holiday for South Africa