The Electoral Commission is pinning its hopes on the Constitutional Court to postpone the local government elections. This is after Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma proclaimed the poll for 27 October.
The IEC has launched an urgent application in the apex court today requesting the court to allow it to hold the polls outside the legally prescribed 90-day period after the expiry date of municipal councils.
The Commission briefed the media in Centurion, north of Johannesburg today.
IEC Chairperson Glen Mashinini outlined the current situation the IEC finds itself in as it approaches the Constitutional Court to get permission to postpone the elections to February 2022.
“The application is also launched on an urgent basis because there is a need for certainty on the preparations for the municipal elections. The commission and electoral stakeholders are currently in an untenable position where preparations are proceeding for 27 October whilst at the same anticipating the outcome of the Constitutional Court application for a possible deferral of elections to February 2022. ”
IEC briefing on elections:
Mashinini believes the Electoral Commission has a clear and reasonable case to present to the Constitutional Court.
“Declaring that the commission may hold the forthcoming local government elections outside of the 90 day period required by Section 159 of the Constitution, second directing the commission to hold the local elections by no later than end February 2022 and thirdly authorising the Minister of CoGTA to withdraw the notice calling for the forthcoming local government elections.”
It 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.”
Meanwhile, the proclamation of the elections by the Minister of CoGTA, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is also the Chairperson of the Ministerial Committee on Local Government, has resulted in the sealing of voters roll which stands at 25.7 million voters.
“In the event that the Constitutional Court grants the prayers of the commission and there is a deferment, all that comes apart, what does it means? It means that the voters’ roll is open once again, it means that people will be able to register and update their details,” says IEC Commissioner Nomsa Masuku.
The commission has rejected claims by some that it is in violation of its constitutional obligation of delivering the elections within a stipulated time frame.