AfriForum to approach ConCourt on possible elections postponement

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Lobby group AfriForum has expressed its intention to join an application against the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) application to postpone this year’s local government elections.

Commission Chairperson Glen Mashinini on Wednesday confirmed that it is applying to the Constitutional Court for a postponement of the elections.

It wants the polls to be postponed from the 27th October 2021 to February next year.

Several civil and political organisations say they believe the implementation of stringent COVID-19 health measures could allow for the elections to be held in a safe manner.

Afriforum’s Manager for Local Government Affairs, Morné Mostert, says: “AfriForum has decided because our members and the citizens of SA have the right to vote and that right needs to be protected and that is why we are going for the application to the ConCourt. While going through Judge Moseneke’s report, I think a lot of medical experts gave their input regarding how certain measures can be set in place by the IEC to ensure safe voting stations.”

Forum 4 Service Delivery to also oppose the postponement 

The Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) also announced its intentions to oppose a postponement of the polls.

F4SD President Mbahare Kekana questions the IEC on its preparations to ensure that elections can be held in October.

“What was the IEC doing from as early as March when we had this outbreak? The IEC did nothing and never put in even one mechanism in place to mitigate and ensure that we have got free and fair elections.”

IEC pins hope on Constitutional Court 

Meanwhile, the IEC believes it has a clear and reasonable case to present to the Constitutional Court.

The Commission is also asking for alternative relief should the court not grant it its wishes. Mashinini outlines the alternative relief sought should this fail.

“We further seek for the court to assume ongoing supervisory jurisdiction requiring the commission to report to the court periodically on its progress in arranging constitutionally compliant local government elections in February 2022 and also an order that the municipal councils remain competent until newly elected councils are declared elected to avoid uncertainty about the legal status of the current municipal councils.”

In the video below, IEC reiterates that it will apply for local government elections to be postponed: 

Moseneke report 

A report by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke in July recommended that the date of the local poll be postponed to February next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that free and fair elections will not be possible on October 27.

Among other reasons stated in the report, he also said that there will be limited time for political parties to canvass voters, impacting the ability to make an informed choice.

Full details are contained in the report below: