IEC endorses delay of October local government elections
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The Electoral Commission (IEC) has accepted the recommendation of retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke that it would not be safe to hold the national local government elections in October in the wake of an increasing number of Covid-19 infections and deaths.
The IEC was reacting to the Moneseke Inquiry report, which was presented to it on July 20 in which Justice Moseneke strongly warned about holding elections while millions of people have yet to receive vaccination against the deadly virus.
In his warning, Justice Moseneke said: “On all expert evidence, many lives are likely to be lost unless we reach a certain community immunity. The nearest point of safety will be February 2022 when there is likely to be a high level of community immunity.
“The postponement, therefore, should not be longer than strictly necessary to save lives and limbs,” he said.
Agreeing with the report, IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini announced in Pretoria on Friday that they had agreed to approach a competent court of law to ask to postpone the elections until February.
Mashinini said the electoral body had already consulted with legal counsel and administrative staff about their approach, hoping the court will also endorse the recommendation.
Mashinini said they will either approach the Electoral Court or the Constitutional Court for permission to postpone the elections. The IEC also announced the postponement of voter registration, which was scheduled for July 31 and August 1, pending the outcome of the court application.
However, the IEC said online registration will continue and they encourage people to use those services. According to the IEC, about 10 367 people have already registered online saying some of them included those who notified them about the change in addresses and new registrations.
The IEC also said that they’ve consulted with political parties about their intentions and were expecting them to respond after their internal discussions.
Mashinini said the IEC will only announce a new date for elections if a competent court grants their application.