POLL | Should the IEC postpone the local government elections set to take place in October?

24 May 2021 - 08:45
One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane has opposed calls to postpone the local government elections. File photo.
One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane has opposed calls to postpone the local government elections. File photo.
Image: Twitter/Mmusi Maimane

It remains to be seen whether the Electoral Commission (IEC) will postpone the local government elections set to take place in October, but Mmusi Maimane’s One SA Movement says the show must go on.

Politicians have been at loggerheads since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last month that SA will hold elections during a global pandemic, as has been done in several other countries. 

One SA Movement launched an online petition arguing against delaying the elections. It said calls by some politicians to postpone the elections are motivated by the need to extend their terms in office while local government is in crisis. 

We, therefore, cannot allow politicians to unilaterally extend their own terms of office while failing in their mandate to govern for all citizens,” said the movement. 

Addressing party supporters during a virtual rally on Saturday, DA leader John Steenhuisen also spoke against possible postponement of the elections. 

He dismissed claims that some politicians want the elections postponed due to concerns about the spread of Covid-19.

“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 IEC announced last week that it appointed former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke to review whether the date set by the president is conducive for free and fair elections. 

Chairperson Glen Mashinini said the commission had the responsibility to ensure a balance of democracy and save the lives of voters during the pandemic. 

“The commission is acutely aware of the weight of its responsibility to find the correct balance between protecting our democracy and lives. Under the current unprecedented circumstances, we should not shy away from using every facility at our disposal to make sure we meet these obligations,” he said. 

Mashinini said the commission consulted political party leaders about its decision to put under review the timing of the elections. He invited political leaders to assist Moseneke during the deliberations to ensure the review is concluded timeously. 


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