Tito Mboweni slams 'rumours' about local government elections

04 August 2021 - 11:00
By unathi nkanjeni AND Unathi Nkanjeni
Finance minister Tito Mboweni. File photo.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER Finance minister Tito Mboweni. File photo.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni has slammed rumours surrounding the local government elections, saying the country will soon know if it will be heading to the polls in October.

Over the past few months, some politicians and political parties have asked that the elections be postponed, citing the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) also made a legal bid to postpone the vote to February next year.

On social media, Mboweni said “rumours” regarding the elections should not be entertained.

“The question of the local government elections will be explained by minister Dlamini-Zuma and the IEC. Forget rumours,” said Mboweni.

Attempts to get additional comments from Mboweni were unsuccessful at the time of publishing this article. Any comment will be added once received.

During her briefing this week, Dlamini-Zuma said, by law, the local government elections were still set for Oct. 27 until a court ordered otherwise.

“The minister is not empowered to postpone the elections to a date beyond 90 days after the expiry of the term of the municipal councils, as prescribed by section 159(2) of the constitution,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

“What we say without any doubt is that the minister is bound to fulfil her constitutional and statutory obligations to timeously proclaim the election date for the elections.

“There is currently no court order that would excuse the minister from fulfilling her constitutional and statutory obligations. If the minister is forced to proclaim the election date before judgment by the Constitutional Court, she may explain that she has been advised to do so to fulfil her constitutional and statutory obligations.”

Dlamini-Zuma said, in gazetting the date for the elections, government was in no way seeking to contradict the Moseneke Inquiry's conclusion or the IEC’s contemplated actions.

The ANC welcomed the proclamation of the local government elections, saying it paves the way for the IEC to approach the courts to implement recommendations by the Moseneke Inquiry to postpone elections.

“The recommendations by former deputy chief justice Moseneke were based on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the holding of free and fair elections, including voter registration, the ability of parties to select candidates and campaign to enable citizens to exercise informed choices,” said ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.

The DA said Dlamini-Zuma’s proclamation of the election date firmly placed the ball in the IEC’s court.

“We understand the minister hopes that the proclamation will give the IEC legal grounds to approach the Constitutional Court to postpone the election, but the Constitutional Court is not a rubber stamp, and there is still the possibility that the election might proceed,” said DA shadow minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Cilliers Brink.

“Not only because it is bad for the constitution to tinker with election timelines, but also because communities should be given the chance to vote for change. The IEC adoption of the Moseneke report in the past days is indicative of their intention to seek a postponement of the election, but South African voters ought to stand against this.”