DA ready for local government elections, rejects calls for postponement

22 May 2021 - 15:14
By TimesLIVE
DA leader John Steenhuisen says the party is ready for local government elections.
Image: Twitter/DA DA leader John Steenhuisen says the party is ready for local government elections.

DA leader John Steenhuisen says his party will not back proposals to postpone the upcoming local government elections.

Addressing the party’s virtual rally on Saturday, Steenhuisen said his party was ready to take on the governing ANC in the local government elections scheduled for October 27.

He said proposals to postpone the elections were being made by parties who feared being rejected by voters at the elections.

“Our opponents are trying their best to wiggle their way out of it. They are either not prepared for this campaign or they fear what voters might say to them on that day. So they talk about postponing and they make up excuses. But we will have none of that. The DA is marching confidently towards October 27,” said Steenhuisen.

The proposal to postpone the elections is being spearheaded by the Julius Malema-led EFF, which has warned that it would not be in the interests of democracy for the country to go ahead with the elections as current lockdown regulations do not allow for proper campaign events.

This week the Electoral Commission (IEC) appointed former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke to lead a review process to determine whether it will be possible to hold free and fair elections in October.

IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said it was important for Moseneke's panel to fortify the commission's decision.

Mashinini said they were emboldened by the holding of about 150 by-elections since the outbreak of the coronavirus in March last year.

“Preparations to host the local government elections are at an advanced stage and the commission is satisfied that it is possible to conduct successful elections within the current circumstances,” said Mashinini.

The DA rally came in a week where the party emerged as the biggest loser in 40 by-elections across the country. The DA lost two seats in predominantly coloured communities in Johannesburg to the Patriotic Alliance and another one to the ANC. The party also lost another ward to the ANC in eThekwini.

But Steenhuisen told party faithfuls his party was “ready for the challenge”.

“We started our preparations a long time ago when these parties were asleep.”

Steenhuisen said many towns, under ANC rule, were falling apart. “The DA is the only hope of turning SA around,” he said.