As the outcome of the Electoral Commission’s (IEC) court application for the postponement of the local government elections looms, political parties scrambled to submit the list of their prospective councillors.

The deadline for political parties and independent candidates to submit the names of their candidates who will be contesting the Local Government Elections was extended.

This followed a meeting with political parties at the weekend. The process takes place in the backdrop of uncertainty as the Constitutional Court considers whether to postpone the elections.

The Al Jama-aha party’s, Ganief Hendrick, gives the IEC’s online submission portal, the thumbs up.

“The nomination system of the IEC is top class in that we can instantly online nominate a candidate. Get an instant confirmation from the IEC that they meet all the requirements, “Hendrick.

Leader of the Democratic Liberal Congress, Patrick Pillay, says the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the process of candidate nomination.

“COVID-19 has really interrupted the processes of ours, primarily it’s meeting with people, meeting with candidates, getting them to understand the process of the IEC,” says Pillay.

Former Johannesburg Mayor and Action SA party, Herman Mashaba disagrees.

“One thing with this pandemic is that the pandemic hit the entire world and more than 125 countries throughout the world had elections because of respecting their constitution. The latest one being Zambia last week. So political parties coming out with the excuse that they want to fill out stadiums in a pandemic environment, I think it’s really very unfortunate. They need to adapt to the new world order,” says Mashaba.

Visvin Reddy of the African Democratic Change party is among those calling for the postponement of the polls, to avert the elections becoming a super spreader event.

“We are one of the parties who do not believe that we should be having an election on the 27th of October this year because as ADEC, we put people first and we know that with this COVID virus, the effect of an election – like what happened in India where lots of people have died because of COVID. We believe that it is not in the interest of South Africans that the elections should go through in October,” says Reddy .

But National Chairperson of the Minorities of South Africa, Ronnie Veeran, says the ongoing pandemic should not deter parties from selecting credible candidates.

“You’ve got to get people who have a record of service in their respective communities. But we were certainly not prepared to make token appointments. We wanted people who have at least a degree of community service in their different wards. I think the time has come for people to serve their communities. Too long councillors and public representatives have been absent,” says Veeran.

Leader of the Minority Front (MF), Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi, says they chose to open up nominations for candidates to the public.

“It is the first time that the MF went on a program of advertising for suitable candidates. But the criteria was very strict. It was very high because we really believe that the success of Local Government means that you must have the best people that will actually do what is required of them. Unfortunately, a lot of these candidates didn’t meet this criteria.”

The IEC,  in a statement, says it will notify political parties and independent candidates of non-compliance by August 27th. The final list of candidates is expected to be published on September 7th.

Deadline looms for political parties to submit their candidate lists: