While the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is set to launch the local government elections on 9 June 2021, the IFP calls for its postponement.

The local government elections are set to take place on 27 October 2021. However, the IFP called on the cabinet to postpone elections fearful of a surge in COVID-19 infections.

FEARS THAT ELECTIONS MIGHT SEE A SURGE IN COVID-19 INFECTIONS

Velenkosi Hlabisa, President of the IFP, sighted concern for the safety of people should the nation take to the polls, behind its latest call.

“We cannot predict the situation four months from now [October 2021]. People don’t wear mask[s] consistently. The same people use public transport and will queue at polling stations and will likely transmit the virus.”

Velenkosi Hlabisa

He said the party was prepared to contest the elections as the IFP was on an upward trajectory in terms of public support.

“Politics cannot take precedence over human life. We call on cabinet to postpone the local government elections. The slow rollout of the vaccines is not a good sign,” he said.

The IEC may have the capacity to take voter’s temperatures and ensure people sanitise at polling stations, but people’s “irresponsible behaviour” in following COVID-19 protocols was not dependable, indicated Hlabisa.

Going ahead with the local government elections has the potential to increase COVID-19 infections and plunge South Africa into further economic crisis.

IEC TO ESTABLISH IF CURRENT CONDITION CONDUCIVE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

In May 2021, the IEC appointed Deputy Chief Justice, Dikgang Moseneke, to ascertain South Africa’s readiness to embark on local government elections. He is there to assess the impact of COVID-19 and establish if conditions were conducive to a free and fair October election.

The IEC said in a media statement: “Justice Moseneke will undertake an urgent appraisal of all the relevant legal, socio-political, health, practical and other considerations and submit a report to the Commission during July. In addition to assessing the various factors, the report may also make recommendations of additional measures to further fortify the integrity and safety of the elections.”

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Presh JM Reporter

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