There has been mixed reaction from political parties to the recommendation that the local government elections, scheduled for 27 October 2021, be postponed.

Former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke released a report which proposes that the municipal elections be held no later than February in 2022, suggesting  it would not be possible to hold free and fair elections in the wake of COVID-19.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which commissioned the inquiry says it will urgently study the report before making a final decision.

Will the IEC postpone elections?

Parties including the GOOD party and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have welcomed the decision.

The red berets has called on the IEC to adopt the report.

“The EFF is vindicated in that, the regularity of elections must never supersede the basic principles of fairness and freedom. To insist on hosting elections despite prevailing conditions would be an exercise in madness”

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)

The GOOD party, which had made submissions to the inquiry, advocating for the elections to go ahead as planned, now supports Moseneke’s recommendations, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Having considered the briefing by Judge Moseneke it is clear that his enquiry considered multiple factors including the risk that elections in October 2021 could cause a resurgence of the virus due to campaigning events and gatherings,” the party said.

“GOOD’s submission to the judge was that the elections should go ahead in October 2021 based on the prescriptive provisions of the Constitution and before we became aware of the deadly Delta variant of the Coronavirus and the impact of the third wave”

GOOD Party

Meanwhile Action SA and the Democratic Alliance (DA) have both condemned the report. The DA’s Siviwe Gwarube maintains that it is possible to hold elections within COVID-19 protocols.

“The DA does not support the postponement of the LGE.  We have said from the start that it is possible to hold elections within Covid-19 protocols,” Gwarube said.

“It is not essential to have mass gatherings and marches in order to hold free and fair elections.  It is these events that give rise to the risk of Covid transmission – not the holding of elections in themselves”

The DA’s Siviwe Gwarube

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Presh JM Reporter

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