South Africa’s Constitutional Court has dismissed an urgent application by the country’s Electoral Commission (IEC), seeking to postpone the 2021 local government elections.
The ConCourt on Friday ordered the IEC to hold local government elections on any day between 27 October and 1 November this year.
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The Concourt further instructed the IEC to hold a special voter registration weekend – the date of which must be announced within three days of the order which was handed down on Friday. The order read:
The Commission must, within three calendar days after the date of this order, determine whether it is practically possible to hold a voter registration weekend with a view of registering new voters and changing registered voters’ particulars on the national voters’ roll in time for local government elections to be held on any day in the period from Wednesday, 27 October 2021 to Monday, 1 November 2021 (both dates inclusive).
The commission’s legal action followed the proclamation of the election date as 27 October by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
A commission of inquiry appointed by the IEC and led retired justice Dikgang Moseneke was tasked with looking into whether this year’s elections could be held in a free and fair manner, given the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moseneke recommended a postponement of the elections, to February 2022, citing the rising number of infections.
It was on the basis of the Moseneke report that the IEC filed a court application seeking for the postponement of the elections.