Con Court dismisses IEC application to postpone municipal elections

Siviwe Feketha Political Reporter
The ConCourt has ordered that SA's local government elections must go ahead between October 27 and November 1 this year. File photo.
The ConCourt has ordered that SA's local government elections must go ahead between October 27 and November 1 this year. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell

The much anticipated municipal elections will go ahead next month after the Constitutional Court dismissed an application by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to postpone them to February next year.

The IEC approached the apex court late last month to ask for a postponement after the inquiry it commissioned into the possibility of holding free and fair elections on the now set date of 27 October given the restrictions and health risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The inquiry had pointed out that many political parties had not been given enough time to campaign ahead of the local government elections as lockdown restrictions and the ban on gatherings had blocked them from canvassing and making contact with their constituencies, which would undermine the fairness of the polls.

Without detailing reasons for dismissing the IEC’s application, the court ruled that elections be held on any day between 27 October and 1 November and further ordered the commission to determine within three calendar days if it was practically possible to hold a voter registration weekend.

“The commission must notify the minister of (co-operative governance and traditional affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma) and publicly announce its determination as soon as it has been made,” the court said.

Dlamini-Zuma has been ordered to issue a new proclamation after the election date has been determined by the IEC.

Eligible voters who wished to register to vote have now been given until 10 September to apply, after which Dlamini-Zuma is ordered to make a new proclamation.

The EFF, which had been pushing for the postponement, said it was left with no choice but to accept the court outcome.

The red berets have however called on the IEC to open voter registration weekend but not candidate registration as advocated for by the ANC which failed to register some of its candidates in 93 of the 278 municipalities across the country.

On Tuesday, the governing party withdrew its application for a further grace period to register its candidates with the IEC, as it said it pinned its hopes on the possible postponement of elections if the apex court granted it.

Eligible voters who wished to register to vote have now been given until 10 September to apply, after which Dlamini-Zuma is ordered to make a new proclamation.

The EFF, which had been pushing for the postponement, said it was left with no choice but to accept the court outcome.

The red berets have however called on the IEC to open voter registration weekend but not candidate registration as advocated for by the ANC which failed to register some of its candidates in 93 of the 278 municipalities across the country.

On Tuesday, the governing party withdrew its application for a further grace period to register its candidates with the IEC, as it said it pinned its hopes on the possible postponement of elections if the apex court granted it.


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