Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says the COVID-19 pandemic could have a negative impact on next year’s local government elections if the spreading of the virus is not contained nationally.
South Africa has 2 605 confirmed coronavirus cases with the death toll at 48.
INFOGRAPHIC: Number of COVID-19 infections and deaths:
Mathekga says since there is currently no vaccine for the virus, the Electoral Commission of South Africa would be obliged to come up with other voting methods including an electronic system.
“It actually says it’s going to have an impact towards the period of elections. It’s going to impact towards campaigning. But also the method of voting as well. I mean you might need to arrange the method of voting in a way that you might need to avoid crowding. You might want also to split it around days. And I also think that we might need to be innovative even thinking electronically. There are digital platforms, if there are those that exist through which people can express their democratic rights. So certainly it’s not going to be business as usual.”
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission of South Africa says it is currently considering asking the Electoral Court to postpone the June by-elections due to the COVID-19 and lockdown regulations. The IEC got a court order granting its request to postpone about 20 by-elections that were scheduled to be held nationwide last month.
IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo, “The by-elections that we approached the electoral court to postponed beyond the legislated mandate involves all the nine provinces bar two…so it involves almost all the nine provinces in the country. They were twenty in total. Subsequently, to that there are other bar elections that were due on the 10th of June. We are currently considering the possibility of approaching the electoral court for a similar judicial injunction, which is to postpone them beyond the legislated ninety days.”
INFOGRAPHIC: Amendments to regulations: