Cooperative and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says she is proclaiming the local elections for 27 October, after seeking legal advice following the Independent Electoral Commission’s decision to accept the Moseneke Inquiry’s recommendations.
Dlamini-Zuma has proclaimed the local government election date as 27 October until such time as the Constitutional Court postpones the elections.
He says she is bound by the Constitution and other legal statutes to timeously proclaim the date of the local government elections.
She announced at a media briefing today that gazetting the date does not contradict the recommendations of the Moseneke Inquiry that elections should be deferred to February next year or their acceptance by the IEC.
“The minister is bound to fulfill her statutory and constitutional obligation to timeously proclaim the election date for the elections there is currently no court order that would excuse the minister from fulfilling her constitutional and statutory obligation. If the minister is forced to proclaim the election date before judgment of a Constitutional Court she may explain that she has been advised to do so to fulfill her constitutional and statutory obligations.”
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma’s briefing on elections:
Dlamini-Zuma says she is not empowered to postpone the local government elections to a date beyond five years and 90 days after the expiry of the prescribed term for elections, as this is a matter for the Constitutional Court. She says it is the responsibility of the IEC to apply to the court and until the matter is settled, the Commission must continue to run with the date of 27 October.
“Since it is the IEC that needs to form the view and has formed the view that the elections held within the time period permitted by the Constitution will not be free and fair. It is the IEC that ought to be the applicant, the IEC is obliged to cite the minister as a respondent. The minister will be free to participate in the proceedings as a respondent in any way she wishes. The minister may abide by the decision of the court or actively support the relief the IEC will seek.”
Dlamini-Zuma has emphasised that the gazetting of the October date is in no way a contradiction of the actions of the IEC or the Moseneke Commission. She says with regards to the IEC’s election timetable, certain activities such as the certification of the voters’ roll may be affected.
The voters’ roll is required to be sealed when the date of elections is proclaimed.
“About the voters’ roll, the IEC will have to take that into account when it goes to court but also the IEC will also be taking this matter to court on an urgent basis so once the court has pronounced and if it pronounces that the election should be postponed, we will then have to postpone the election and the voters’ roll will be opened.”
The IEC is expected to brief the media on Wednesday regarding its plans for the local elections.